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Full text of "History of England from the accession of James I to the outbreak of the Civil War, 1603-1642"

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Prof. Myron I. Barker 






1603-1616. 2 vols. 8vo. 1863. 

1617-1623. 2 vols. 8vo. 1869. 

HISTORY of ENGLAND under the DUKE of 
BUCKINGHAM and CHARLES I. 1624-1628. 2 vols. 8vo. 


from the DEATH of BUCKINGHAM to the DECLARA- 
1628-1637. 2 vols. 8vo. 1877. 


1637-1642. 2 vols. 8vo. 1881. 

The above Volumes were revised and re-issued in a cheaper form, 
under the title of ' A History of England, from the Accession of 
James I. to the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1603-1642.' 10 vols. 
Crown 8vo. 1883-4. 

HISTORY of the GREAT CIVIL WAR. 1642-1649. 

(3 vols.) 

VOL. I. 1642-1644. 8vo. 1886. 

VCL. II. 1644-1647. 8vo. 1889. 

VOL. III. 1647-1649. 8vo. 1891. 

These Volumes have been revised and re-issued in a cheaper 
form, in 4 vols. crown 8vo. uniform with the ' History of England, 

1603-1642.' __ 1893. 

TECTORATE, 1649-1660. Vol. I. 1649-1651. 8vo. 1894. 












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OF *' 




1625 Buckingham's intentions . 
Breach of the engagements 

between Louis XIII. and 

the Huguenots . 
Determinatio of Charles 

to send out the fleet . 
The Queen at Titchfield . 
Rusdorf s diplomacy . 
The Treaty of Southampton 
Buckingham to go to the 

Hague . . . 

The Essex trained bands at 

Harwich . . . 

De'thof Sir A. Morton 

Sir J. Coke Secretary . 
Sir E. Cecil appointed to 

command the expedition 

against Spain . . 



He reports on the defi- 
ciencies of the troops . ii 
The Kingand Buckingham 

at Plymouth . . la 
The fleet driven back by a 

storm . . 13 

It puts to sea . . 14 

Arrives at Cadiz . 15 

Attack on Fort Puntal 16 

Surrender of the fort . 17 

Cecil's march to the bridge 18 

Failure of the expedition . 19 
The look-out for the Mexico 

fleet . . .20 
Return of the fleet to Eng- 
land . . 21 
No serious investigation 
into the causes of failure 23 



1625 Buckingham's intention to 

visit France . . 24 

Objections of Louis . . 25 

Buckingham's instructions 26 

Blainville's interview with 

Charles . . . 27 

His visit to Buckingham . 28 
The Peers of the Opposi- 
tion . . . . 29 
Dismissal of Williams . 31 
Coventry Lord Keeper . 33 
The Opposition leaders of 



the Commons made 
sheriffs . . -33 

The Dunkirk privateers . 34 
Buckingham visits the 
Hague and proposes to 
attack Dunkirk . . 35 
The Congress of the Hague 35 
Treaty ol the Hague . 36 
Prospect of war \\ ith Fra: ice 37 
Difficulties about the 

Queen's household . 38 
Embassy of Holland and 

Carleton . . 39 

Difficulties about the law 

of prize . 40 

Sequestration of the money 
on board the French 
prizes . . 41 

Orders given for the sale 

of prize goods . . 41 

Blainville protests . . 42 

Reprisals in France fol- 
lowed by an order for 
the restitution of the 
St. Peter' . . 43 

1626 Irritation of Louis 

Charles determines to re- 
lieve Rochello . 

The prize goods sold 

The 'St. Peter' re-ar- 
rested . 

Interference of Charles in 
French politics 

The Queen refuses to be 

Charles's coronation . 

Negotiation between Louis 
and the Huguenots 

An agreement come to 

The Huguenots look to 
Charles lor support 

Richelieu proposes 10 join 
England against Spain . 

Charles rejects his over- 

Fresh dispute between 
Charles and the Queen . 

Blainville ordered to ab- 
sent himself from Court 







5 1 




1626 Opening of Parliament . 59 

Eliot's position in the 
House . . .60 

He demands inquiry into 
past mismanagement . 62 

Laud's Sermon , . 63 

Th^ conferfnce on Monta- 
gue's books . 64 

Case of the 'St. Peter' of 
Havre de Grace . 6 r . 

Release of the ship and 
reprisals in France . . 66 

Inquiry in the House of 
Commons . . 66 

State of feeling in the 
House of Lords . . 68 

Fresh overtures from 
Richelieu . . 69 

The riot at Durham House 70 

The marriage of Lord Mal- 
travers . 71 

Arundel sent to the Tower 72 

The Commons wish to in- 
quire into the proceed- 

ings of the council of war 73 

The councillors refuse to 
reply . . -74 

Charles supports them in 
their refusal . . 75 

Dr. Turner's queries . 76 

Charles de'ends his minister 77 

Question of ministerial re- 
sponsibility . . 78 

Eliot counsels the Com- 
mons to persist . . 79 

Eliot's speech against 
Buckingham . . 80 

Charles leluses to accept 
the doctrine of minis- 
terial responsibility . 81 

Coventry's declaration of 
the King's pleasure . 82 

Buckingham's vindication 
of his proceedings . 84 

Remonstrance of the Com- 
mons . . .84 

The Commons are allowed 
to proceed with their in- 


quiry into Buckingham's 
conduct . . . 85 

They vote that common 
fame is a good ground 
for their action . . 86 

The French Government 
favours the English al- 
liance . 87 

Charles throws obstacles 
in the way of an agree- 

Blainville leaves England . 

Treaty between France 
and Spain End of the 
French alliance 



1626 The House of Lords de- 
mands Arundel's libera- 
tion . . -9* 
Bristol's confinement at 

Sherborne . 92 

He is forbidden to come 

to Parliament . . 93 

Petitions the Lords for 
his writ, comes to Lon- 
don and accuses Buck- 
ingham . 94 
Is accused by the King . 95 
Interference of the King 

in Buckingham's favour 97 
Buckingham impeached by 

the Commons . . 98 

Prologue by Digges . . 99 
Charges brought against 

Buckingham . . too 

Eliot's summing up . . 103 
Buckingham compared to 

Sejanus . . . 105 

Charles's indignation . . 107 
He replies to the Lords' 
demand for Arundel's 
liberation . . . 108 

Imprisonment of Eliot and 
Digges . . . 109 

Carleton threatens the 
House with the danger 
of Parliaments falling 
into disuse . .110 

Digges cleared by the 
House of Lords . . in 

Digges released, but Eliot 
kept in prison . .112 

The Commons suspend 
their sittings . .113 

Eliot released . .113 

Bristol's case before the 
Lords . . . 114 

Liberation of Arundel . 115 

Buckingham elected Chan- 
cellor of Cambridge 
University . . 116 

The King demands supply 117 

The Commons decide that 
remonstrance must pre- 
cede supply . . 118 

They demand Bucking- 
ham's dismissal . . 119 

Parliament dissolved . . 121 



1626 Proclamation for the peace 

of the Church . . 122 

Buckingham's case to be 
tried in the Star Cham- 
ber . . . 123 

The Parliamentary mana- 
gers refuse to counte- 
nance the trial . -123 

The City refuses to lend 
money . . . 124 

Demand of a free gift from 
the counties . . 125 

Dismissal of justices of the 
peace . . 12? 

Wentworth's character and 
political position . 126 

Nature of his opposition . 127 

His overtures to Bucking- 
ham . . . 128 

His dismissal from office. 129 


The fire gift refused in the 

counties . . . 131 

Ships demanded from the 

maritime counties . . 132 
Willoughby's fleet at Ports- 
mouth . . . 133 
Disagreement between 

Charles and the Queen . 134 
The Queen at Tyburn . 135 
Dismissal of the Queen's 

French attendants . 136 
Proposal to debase the coin 138 
Defeat of Mansfeld and 

Christian IV. . . 139 

Bassompierre's mission . 141 
Capture of French prizes . 142 
The forced loan . . 143 

Sequestration of Eliot's 

Vice-Admiralty . . 144 

Buckingham proposes to 

go to France . . 146 

Seizure of the wine fleet at 

Bordeaux . . 147 

Buckingham prepares to 
go as ambassador to 
France . . . 147 

Prospects of the loan . 148 
Resistance of the judges 
Dismissal of Chief Jus- 
tice Crew . . 149 

Resistance spreading in 
the country . . . 150 

Pennington ordered to 
attack French ships at 
Havre . . . 151 

1627 But finds no ships there . 152 

Mutiny in Pennington's 
fleet. . . . 153 

Partial success of the loan 154 

Growing resistance to it . 155 

The chief opponents sum- 
moned before the Council 156 

Resistance of Hampden, 
Eliot, and Wentworth . 157 

Charles looks forward to a 
war with France . .159 

Pennington's attack upon 
the French shipping . 160 

Negotiations opened with 
Spain . . . 160 

Interviews between Rubens 
and Gerbier . .161 

Alarm of the Dutch am- 
bassador . . . 162 

Agreement between France 
and Spain . . 163 

Progress of the war in 
Germany . . 164 

Morgan takes four regi- 
ments to the Elbe . 165 



1627 Walter Montague's mis- 
sion . . . . 167 
Preparations for the relief 

ofRochelle . . 168 

Buckingham's instructions 170 
Sailing of the fleet . . 171 
Buckingham's landing in 

the Isle of Rh . . 172 

Marches to St. Martin's . 173 
Lukewarmness of the Ro- 

chellese . . . 174 

Commencement of the 

siege of St. Martin's . 175 
The siege converted into a 

blockade . . 175 

Need of reinforcements . 176 
Eagerness of the King to 

support Buckingham . 177 
Difficulties of the Exche- 
chequer . . 178 

Becher carries a few re- 
cruits to Rlie" . .180 

Death of Sirjohn Borough 181 

Supplies introduced into 
St. Martin's . .182 

Buckingham resolves to 
carry on the siege . .183 

Holland expected with re- 
inforcements . .184 

Rohan's insurrection meets 
with no general support 184 

Failure of the negotiation 
with Spain . . 185 

Christian IV. overpowered 186 

Misery in Morgan's regi- 
ments . . .186 

Seizure of a French ship in 
the Texel . . . 187 

English feeling against 
Buckingham . . 188 


Delays in Holland's sailing 191 
The King's anxiety . . 192 
Holland is unable to 

leave . . . 192 

Disorganisation of the 

Government . . 193 

The King constant to 

Buckingham . . 194 

Gloomy prospects of the 

force at Rh6 . . 195 


Landing of the French on 

the island . . . 195 

Buckingham attempts to 

storm the fort . .196 

The retreat from St. Martin's 197 
Slaughter of the English . 198 
Re-embarkation of the 

troops . . . 198 

Buckingham's part in the 

disaster . . . 199 



1627 Buckingham's reception in 

England . . . 201 

Increased resistance to the 
loan . . . 202 

Ecclesiastical parties . 203 

Laud's royalism . . 204 

Sibthorpe's sermon on 
Apostolic Obedience . 206 

Abbot sent into confine- 
ment for refusing to li- 
cense it . 207 

Manwaring's sermons on 
Religion and Allegiance 208 

Manwaring's theory of 
government . . 209 

Eliot's petition from the 
Gatehouse . . . 212 

Five knights demand a 
habeas corpus . . 213 

Arguments in the King's 
Bench on behalf of the 
five knights . . 214 

Heath's argument for the 
Crown . . . 215 

The prisoners remanded . 216 
The sailors ready to 

mutiny . . . 218 

Bad conduct of the billeted 

soldiers . .219 

Schemes for raising money 219 
Chailes and Buckingham 

resolve to carry on the 

war . . . 2io 

Excise proposed in the 

Council . . . 222 

A standing force proposed 223 
1628 German horse sent for . 224 
Abandonment of the pro- 
posed excise . . 225 
The prisoners released and 

Parliament summoned . 225 
Ship-money demanded and 

then abandoned . 226 

Commission to inquire how 

excise can be levied . 227 
Bad state of Denbigh's 

fleet . . . . 228 

The elections . . 229 



1628 Laud's sermon . . 230 

Opening of the session . 231 

Coke's Imprisonment Bill 232 
Seymour and Eliot on 

grievances . . 233 

Wentworth's demand . 235 
Comparison between Went- 

worth and Eliot . . 236 

Secretary Coke acknow- 
ledges that the law has 
been broken. . . 237 

The Jesuits at Clerkenwell 238 

Secretary Coke tries to 
frighten the Commons . 

Debate on the liberty of 

the subject 




Sir E. Coke's statement of 

A Good Friday's debate 

the law 


on martial law . . 254 

The Commons' resolution 

The Lords incline towards 

against unparliamentary 

the King . . 256 

taxation . 


The Commons refuse to 

Nethersole's argument 

proceed further with 

from political expediency 


supply . . . 257 

The legal argument . 


Debate in the Upper House 

Controversy between Coke 

on the resolutions . 258 

and Shitton 


The Lords' propositions . 259 

Anderson's judgment pro- 

Criticism of the Commons 261 



Noy and Wentworth for 

The Commons' resolu- 

a Habeas Corpus Act . 262 

tions on imprisonment . 


Coventry declares that the 

Debate on supply . 


King's word must be 

Debate on billeting . 


taken . . , 263 

Question of pressing men 

The Commons order the 

for the army 


preparation of a Bill on 

Five subsidies voted in 

the libertv of the subject 264 

committee, but not re- 

The Bill brought in by 



Coke . . , 264 

Wentworth proposes a 

Wentworth proposes a Bill 

Bill on the 'iberties of 

of his own . . 266 

the subject 


The King rejects Went- 

The King pleased at the 

worth's terms . . 267 

vote of supply 


Wentworth's appeal to the 

Arguments before the 

King . . . 268 

Lords on the resolutions 


Coke's proposal . . 269 

Further discussion on bil- 

End of Wentworth's leader- 

leting . 


ship . . . 270 



1628 Dissatisfaction of the 

The Commons persist in 

House . 


rejecting it . 282 

Coke proposes a Petition 

Wentworth proposes a 

of Right 


further accommodation . 283 

The Petition of Right 

Eliot's rejoinder . 284 

brought in 


Wentworth's reply . 285 

The Petition before tne 

The Commons decide 



against Wentworth . 286 

The King's defence of his 

Fresh proposal by the 

claim to imprison with- 

Lords . . . 287 

out showing cause 


Buckingham opposes it . 288 

The Lords attempt to 

The Lords give way . . 289 



The petition passes both 

Clause proposed by 

Houses . . . 289 



The surrender of Stade . 290 

Clause prepared by Arun- 

Denbigh's failure to re- 

del and Weston adopted 


lieve Rochelle . .291 

The clause rejected by 

Resolution of Charles to 

the Commons . 


make another effort . 293 

The Lords try to expla'n 

Charles hesitates about 

away the clause 


the petition .. , 293 


Questions the judges . 294 

Consults the Council . 296 

Answer agreed on . . 297 
Worthlessness of the 

answer . . . 297 

Eliot's resolution . . 298 
His speech on the state 

of the nation . . 299 

A Remonstrance proposed 301 

The King tries to stop it . 301 

Distress of the House . 302 
PheKps proposes to ask 

leave to go home . . 303 

Eliot stopped by the 

Speaker . . . 304 

Coke attacks Buckingham 

by name . . 305 

Selden moves that the im 

peachment be renewed 306 
Intervention of the Lords 306 
Charles draws back 307 

The Lords ask for a clear 

answer to the petition . 308 
Charles gives the Royal 

assent to the Petition of 

Right , . . 309 



1628 The petition compared 

with Magna Carta . 311 

Impeachment of Man- 
waring . . . 312 

Pym's declaration of prin- 
ciple . . . 313 

Subsidies voted and the 
Remonstrance proceeded 
with . . . . 315 

The Remonstrance voted. 316 

Charles will not give up 
Buckingham . . 318 

Murder of Dr. Lambe . 319 

The King's answer to the 
Remonstrance . 320 

Buckingham seeks to meet 
the charges against 
him . . . 321 

Debate on tonnage and 
poundage . . . 322 

Remonstrance on tonnage 

and poundage . . 323 

The King's speech . . 324 
Parliament prorogued . 325 
Was tonnage and pound- 
age included in the 
Petition of Right ? . 326 
Ecclesiastical promotions. 329 
Buckingham's foreign 

policy . . 331 

Carlisle's mission . . 332 

Pmspects of peace with 

France and Spain . . 333 
Changes in the Govern- 
ment . . -334 
Wentworth's peerage . . 335 
Expectations held out to 
him of the Presidentship 
of the North . . 337 
Wentworth's political posi- 
tion . . . . 337 



1628 Lady Buckingham's over- 
tures to Williams . 339 

Reconciliation between 
Buckingham and 

Williams . . . 340 

Influence of Carleton over 
Buckingham . . 341 

Buckingham surrenders 
the Cinque Ports , . 342 

Resistance of Rochelle . 343 
Buckingham prepares to 

relieve it . 344 
He welcomes Contarini's 
offer of Venetian media- 
tion . . .345 

The King hesitates . 347 

Forebodings of evil . . 347 

Mutiny at Portsmouth . 348 


Murder of the Duke by 
Felton . 

Seizure of the assassin 

Story of Felton 

His popularity 

Townley's verses 

Alexander Gill at Oxford . 

Buckingham's funeral 

His career 

Felton threatened 
the rack . 

His execution 

Charles personally under- 
takes the government 

Character and position of 
Weston . 

Lindsey takes the fleet to 
the relief of Rochelle 

Failure of the attempt 

Montague's negotiation 


ke by 

Mission of Rosencrantz . 



Influence of the Queen . 


in . 350 

Charles rejects the terms 





Orders Lindsey to perse- 



3 63 

tford . 355 

Surrender of Rochelle 


al . 356 

Charles's failure 



A Spanish alliance sug- 


gested by Carlisle 



Arundel and Cottington in 


the Council 



Dorchester becomes Secre- 

ent . 360 

tary . . . 


ion of 

1629 The Council agrees to ne- 

. 361 

gotiate with France 


leet to 

Feeling of the nation about 

elle . 363 

the war . . 


3t . 364 

Dutch successes 


ion . 365 

End of the" war period 




To face title-page 




THE gloomy anticipations of some of the members of the dis- 
solved House of Commons with respect to their personal safety 
AU 12 were not rea 'i seo< - Phelips and Seymour, Coke and 
The leaders Glanville returned in peace to their homes. Mansell, 
Commons indeed, was summoned before the Council ; but he 
untouched. answere( j boldly that he could not be touched without 
a violation of the liberties of Parliament, and was dismissed 
with nothing worse than a reprimand. 1 

In fact it was no part of Buckingham's policy to drive the 
nation to extremity. Full of confidence in himself, he fancied 
that he had but to use the few months' breathing 
h^m'slnteri- space allowed him to convince the electors that their 
late representatives had been in the wrong. The 
time had come which he had apparently foreseen when he 
conversed with Eliot at Westminster. He had asked for neces- 
sary support, and had been denied. A few days would show 
the King of France at peace at home, turning his sword against 
Spain and the allies of Spain abroad. A few months would 

f Johnston, Hist. Rerum Britannicarum, 666. Tillteres to Louis 
XT II., Aug. ", King's MSS. 137, p. 121. 


show the great English fleet returning with the spoils of Spanish 
cities and the captured treasures of the New World. Then a 
fresh Parliament would assemble round the throne to acknow- 
ledge the fortitude of the King and the prescience of his 

A few days after the dissolution news came from France 
which dashed to the ground the hopes which had been formed 
The peace of the cessation of the civil war. Many persons 

Huguenots at)OUt the C Urt f L UJS had n likin g for Riche- 

nothTng Deli's policy of toleration. The Prince of Conde, if 
report spoke truly, sent a hint to Toiras, who" com- 
manded the French troops outside Rochelle, that peace must 
in one way or another be made impossible. To carry such 
counsels into execution presented no difficulties to Toiras. The 
Rochellese, pleased with the news that peace had been made 
at Fontainebleau, pressed out without suspicion into the fields 
to gather in their harvest. Toiras directed his cannon upon 
the innocent reapers. Many of them were slain, and Toiras 
then proceeded to set fire to the standing corn. Loud was the 
outcry of the indignant citizens within the walls. 
Aug. 10. j^ was i m p OSS jbi e> tn ey sa i c } j to t rust the King's 

word. The ratification of the treaty was refused, and the war 
seemed likely to blaze up once more with all its horrors. 1 
The English ships were now in the hands of the French ad- 
miral, and in a naval engagement which took place off Rochelle, 
( on September 5, Soubise was entirely defeated, and 
Defeat of driven to take an ignominious refuge in an English 

Although such a calamity could hardly have been foretold 
by anyone, it was none the less disastrous to Buckingham's 
How it design of conciliating the English nation. All the 
Ruckin 1 ^ on intrigue carried on with the assistance of 
ham. Nicholas was rendered useless. The English ships 

were in French hands, and they would doubtless be used against 
Rochelle. It was easy to foresee what a handle would thus be 
given to Buckingham's accusers. 

1 Resolution of the Town of Rochelle, Aug. * ; Lor kin to Con way, 

Aug. " 5. P. Frame. 



It is probable that the renewal of hostilities was already 

known to Charles when the Privy Council met at Woodstock on 

August 14, the Sunday after the dissolution. It was 

evidently the King's intention to show that he would 

take no serious step without the advice of the Privy Council. Its 

members unanimously approved of a proclamation 

oamsnrnent J * * 

of the priests for the banishment of the Roman Catholic priests, 

resolved on. * . 

of the continuance of the preparations for sending 
The fleet to out the fleet, and of the issue of Privy seals, to raise 

go, and Privy . . J 

seals to be what was practically a forced loan, in order to meet 


its expenses. 

If money had been needed for the fleet alone, there would 
have been no such pressing need. In addition to the io,ooo/. 
borrowed in August, no less than 98,ooo/. were brought into 
the Exchequer in the months of August and September on 
account of the Queen's portion, 2 and Charles, before August 
was over, was quietly talking to the French ambassador of 
diverting part of the new loan to some other purpose. 3 In 

Sept. 17. point of fact the order for preparing the Privy seals 
^aLat'iast was not issued till September 17,* and the fleet was 
issued. a t sea before a single penny of the loan came into 
the King's hands. Charles, however, had many needs, and he 
may perhaps have thought that there would be less opposition 
to the loan if he demanded it for the purpose of fitting out the 

Charles had thus, after dismissing his Parliament, been able 
to convince or cajole his Privy Council. But he could neither 

August, convince nor cajole his wife. The promises lightly 
Charles's made when hope was young he had repudiated 

domestic r j o 

troubles. an( j flung aside. He was unable to understand why 
the Queen, who had, upon the faith of those promises, con- 
sented to leave her mother's care for a home in a strange land, 

1 Meautys's Note, Aug. 14, S. P. Dom. v. 41 ; Tillieres to Louis XIII., 
Aug. ", King's MSS. 137, p. izi. 

2 Receipt Books of the Exchequer. 

1 Tillieres to Louis XIII., Aug. ||, King's MSS. 137, p. 131. 
4 The King to the Council, Sept. 17, S. P. Dom. vi. 70. 

B 2 


should feel aggrieved when the Catholics, whom she had come 
to protect, were again placed under the pressure of the penal 
laws. A few days after the dissolution he was at Beaulieu, 
hunting in the New Forest, whilst Henrietta Maria was estab- 
The Queen Hshed at Titchfield, on the other side of Southamp- 
at Titchfield. ton \v a ter. There he visited her from time to time ; 
but, in the temper in which they both were, there was little 
chance of a reconciliation. Charles never thought of taking 
the slightest blame to himself for the estrangement which had 
arisen between them. It was his wife's business, he held, to 
love and obey him, just as it was the business of the House 
of Commons to vote him money. Sometimes he sent Buck- 
ingham to threaten or to flatter the 'Queen by turns. Some- 
times he came in person to teach her what her duties were. If 
he was blind to his own errors he was sharpsighted enough to 
perceive that his wife's French attendants were doing their best 
to keep her displeasure alive, and were teaching her to regard 
herself as a martyr, and to give as much time as possible to 
spiritual exercises and to the reading of books of devotion. 1 
To counteract these tendencies in the Queen, Charles 


about the wished to place about her the Duchess of Bucking- 
Ladies of the !/-> / 1-1 1_ 1 1 I 1 

i edcham- ham, the Countess of Denbigh, and the Marchioness 
of Hamilton, the wife, the sister, and the niece of his 
own favourite minister, and he desired her at once to admit 
them as Ladies of the Bedchamber. 

Although this demand was not in contradiction with the let- 
ter of the marriage treaty, 2 it was in complete opposition to its 
spirit, and the young Queen fired up in anger at the proposal. 
She told Charles that what he asked was contrary to the con- 
tract of marriage. Nothing, she told her own followers, would 
induce her to admit spies into her privacy. 

1 See a curious letter, said to be from a gentleman in the Queen's 
household (Oct. 15, S. P. Dom. vii. 85), which looks genuine. But even 
'if it is not, the statements in it are in general accordance with what is 
known from other sources. 

8 By Article 1 1 all the attendants taken from France were to be Catho- 
lics and French, and all vacancies were to be filled up with Catholics. 
Louis had forgotten to provide for the case of Charles wishing to add 
Protestants when there were no vacancies. 


The strife grew fierce. The guard-room at Titchfield was 

used on Sundays for the service of the English Church, accord- 

, ing to the custom which prevailed in houses occupied 

The English r 

sermon at by the King. Against this the Queen protested as 

an insult to herself, and argued that whilst Charles 

was at Beaulieu, she was herself the mistress of the house. 

Lady Denbigh, however, took part against her, and the service 

was not discontinued. At last the Queen lost all patience, 

made an incursion into the room at sermon time, and walked 

up and down laughing and chattering with her French ladies as 

loudly as possible. The preacher soon found him- 

jokes upon self a butt for the practical jokes of the Frenchmen 

the preacher. , , 111/^1 i . 

of the household. One day, as he was sitting on a 
bench in the garden, a gun was fired off behind a hedge close 
by. The frightened man fancied an attempt had been made 
upon his life, and pointed to some marks upon the bench as 
having been made by the shot aimed at himself. Tillieres, 
who had come back to England as chamberlain to the Queen, 
was called in to adjudicate, and, having sat down on several 
parts of the bench, gravely argued that as he could not sit any- 
where without covering some of the marks, and as, moreover, 
the clergyman was very corpulent, whilst he was himself very 
thin, the shot which had made the marks must certainly have 
passed through the person of the complainant, if his story had 
been true. 1 

If Charles was hardly a match for his wife, he had no doubt 
at all that he was a match for half the Continent. Those vast 
enterprises which he had been unable to bring himself to dis- 
Rusdorf avow in the face of the House of Commons had still 
olariesto a charm for his mind. In vain Rusdorf, speaking on 
assist the behalf of his master, the exiled Frederick, urged upon 

King of Den- ' . . . 

mark. him the necessity of concentrating his forces in one 

quarter, and argued that the ten thousand landsmen on board 
the fleet would be useless at Lisbon or Cadiz, but would 
be invaluable on the banks of the Elbe or the Weser, where 

1 Tillieres, Me'moires, 99-104; Rusdorf to Oxenstjerna, ^~^-, 3 
Ale moires de Rusdorf, ii. 73 


Christian of Denmark was with difficulty making head against 
Tilly. 1 

As the attack upon Spain was the first object with Charley 
he listened more readily to the Dutch Commissioners, who 
The Dutch na d come to England in order to draw up a treaty of 
sionersln alliance. Naturally the Dutchmen cared more about 
Kngiand. t ne war w jt n Spain than about the war in Germany, 
and when the treaty which they came to negotiate was com- 
pleted it fixed accurately the part to be taken by the two 
countries in common maritime enterprise, whilst everything re- 
lating to hostilities on land was expressed in vague generalities 
The States- General had already agreed to lend Charles 2,000 
English soldiers in exchange for the same number of recruits, 
and to send twenty vessels to join the fleet at Plymouth. 2 By 
Sept. s. the new treaty, which was signed at Southampton on 
The Treaty September 8, an alliance offensive and defensive was 

of South- r 

ampton. established between England and the States-General. 
The Flemish harbours were to be kept constantly blockaded by 
a Dutch fleet, whilst the English were to perform the same task 
off the coast of Spain. Whenever a joint expedition was con- 
certed between the two nations the States General were to 
contribute one ship for every four sent out by England. The 
details of a somewhat similar arrangement for joint operations 
by land were left, perhaps intentionally, in some obscurity. 3 

To Rusdorf the preference shown for maritime over mili- 
tary enterprise was the death-knell of his master's hope of 
recovering the Palatinate. Charles was far too sanguine to 
take so gloomy a view of the situation. He had now openly 
Open breach broken with Spain. He had recalled Trumbull, his 
with Spain. a g e nt at Brussels, and he had no longer any minister 
residing in the Spanish dominions. He had followed up this 
step by the issue of letters of marque to those who wished to 
prey on Spanish commerce. Yet he had no idea of limiting 
hostilities to a combat between England and Spain. " By the 

1 Rusdorf s advice. " 8 " 3 * Memoires de Rusdorf. i. 6ll. 

' Sept. 10, 

2 Agreement, . y 23 Aitzema. i. 468. 

Aug. 2, 

* Treaty of Southampton ibid. i. 469. 


grace of God," he said to a Swedish ambassador who visited 
him at Titchfield, " I will carry on the war if I risk my crown. 
I will have reason of the Spaniards, and will set matters straight 
again. My brother-in-law shall be restored, and I only wish 
that all other potentates would do as I am doing." l 

In fact, it was because Charles had not been content to 
pursue a mere war of vengeance against Spain, that he had 
entered upon those extended engagements which more than 
anything else had brought him into collision with the House of 
Commons. Those engagements he had no intention of aban- 
doning, and he hoped that if some temporary way of fulfilling 
them could be found, the success of the fleet would give him 
a claim to the gratitude of his subjects, and would enable him 
to place himself at the head of an alliance more distinctly 
Protestant than when he had been hampered by the necessity 
of looking to France for co-operation. In the Treaty of South- 
ampton the foundation for such an alliance had been laid, and 
it now only remained to extend it, with the needful modifica- 
tions, to the King of Denmark and the North German Princes. 
It was therefore arranged that Buckingham should 

Buckingham . , T , t_ i i , r , 

to go to the go in person to the Hague, where the long-deferred 
conference was expected at last to take place. It 
was useless for him to go with empty hands. If Charles could 
not procure the money which he had already bound himself to 
supply to the King of Denmark, it was hardly likely that Christian 
would care to enter into fresh negotiations with so bad a pay- 
master. Yet, how was the money to be found ? One desperate 
resource there was, of which Charles had spoken already in a 
rhetorical flourish, and of which he was now resolved to make use 
in sober earnest. The plate and jewels of the Crown, 

The Crown , , ,. . , . .. f . , 

jewels to be the hereditary possession of a long line of kings, 
might well be pledged in so just and so holy a cause. 
In England, it was true, no one would touch property to which 
his right might possibly be challenged, on the ground that the 
inalienable possessions of the Crown could not pass, even for a 
time, into the hands of a subject ; but on the Continent there 

1 Rusdorf to Frederick, Sept. ', Mtmoires de KusJorf, \. 623. 


would be no fear of the peculiar doctrines of English law. The 
danger was that, if once the precious gems were sent to the 
Continent, there might be some difficulty in recovering them. 
At last it was decided that the plate and jewels should be carried 
by Buckingham to Holland. It was probably argued that in 
that rich and friendly country men might be found who would 
both accept the security and be faithful to their trust. 1 

Want of money is a sad trial to any Government, and in one 
part of England it had already brought Charles into difficulties 
with his subjects. Towards the end of August serious appre- 
hensions were entertained for the safety of Harwich. It was 
known that Dunkirk was alive with preparations for war, and 
August. n P art of England was so liable to attack as the flat 
The Essex an( j indented coast of Essex. Orders were therefore 

trained bands 

at Harwich issued by the Privy Council to put Landguard Fort 
in repair, and to occupy Harwich with a garrison of 3,000 men, 
chosen from the Essex trained bands. So far everything had 
been done according to rule. Each county was bound to pro- 
vide men for its own defence. But the Crown was also bound 
to repay the expenses which it might incur, and this time there 
was an ominous silence about repayment. Under these cir- 
cumstances the Earl of Warwick, Holland's elder brother 
who was now in high favour with Buckingham made a 
proposition which looks like the germ of the extension of ship- 
money to the inland counties. The adjacent shires, he said, 
were interested in the safety of Harwich. Let them, therefore, 
be called on to contribute to its defence in men and money. 
The adjacent shires, however, refused to do anything of the 
kind; and the vague promises of payment at some future time, 
which was all that the Government had in its power to offer, 
were met by the firm resolution of the Essex men that they, 
at any rate, would not serve at their own charges. Making a 

1 The earliest mention of Buckingham's intended journey is, I believe, 
in RusdorPs letter to Oxenstjerna. Sept. (Mem. ii. 63). The first hint 
about the jewels is in an order from Conway to Mildmay, the Master of 
the Jewel House, to give an account of the plate in his hands. Conway to 
Mildmay, Sept. 4, Con-way's Letter Book, 227, S. P. Dotn. 


virtue of necessity, the Council ordered the men to be sent back 
to their homes, and directed Pennington, who, since his return 
from Dieppe, had been watching, with a small squadron, the 
movements of the Dunkirk privateer?, to betake himself to the 
protection of Harwich. Thus ended Charles's first attempt so 
to construe the obligations of the local authorities as to compel 
them to take upon themselves the duties of the central Govern- 
ment. l 

With all Charles's efforts to conciliate public opinion by a 
bold and, as he hoped, a successful foreign policy, there was no 
thought of throwing open the offices of State to those who were 
likely to be regarded with confidence by the nation. Yet it was 
Se t 6 not long before an opportunity occurred of which a 
Death of wise ruler would have taken advantage. On Septem- 
ber 6, Morton died of a fever which seized him a few 
days after his return from the Netherlands. The vacant secre- 
taryship was at once conferred upon Sir John Coke, the only 
man amongst the Government officials who had in- 
Coke, secre- curred the positive dislike of the Opposition leaders 
of the Commons, in whose eyes the subserviency 
which he always showed to Buckingham more than counter- 
balanced the excellent habits of business which he undoubtedly 
possessed. The honesty of purpose upon which that sub- 
serviency was based was unlikely to make any impression on 
their minds. 

Buckingham was not left without a warning of the dangec 

he was incurring by his refusal to make any effort to conciliate 

^ t g public opinion. Lord Cromwell, who had left his ser- 

Cromweirs vice under Mansfeld for a more hopeful appointment 

in the new expedition, had brought back with him 

from the Netherlands his old habit of speaking plainly. " They 

say," he wrote to the Duke, "the best lords of the Council 

knew nothing of Count Mansfeld's journey or this fleet, which 

discontents even the best sort, if not all. They say it is a very 

1 Coke to Buckingham, Aug. 25 ; Coke to Conway, Aug. 26 ; Order 
of Council, Aug. 30 ; Sussex to the Council, Sept. 9 ; Warwick to Con- 
way, Sept. 10 ; Warwick to the Council, Sept. 18, 23 ; The Council to 
Warwick, Oct. ?., S. P. Dom. v. 85, 99 ; vi. 38, 44, 76, 98 ; vii. 4. 


great burden your Grace takes upon you, since none knows 
anything but you. It is conceived that not letting others bear 
part of this burden now you bear, it may ruin you, which Heaven 
forbid." > 

The expedition upon which so many hopes were embarked 
was by rio means in a prosperous condition. For a long time 
^ u gt the soldiers had been left unpaid. Before the end of 
Bad con- August there was a new press of 2,000 men, to fill up 
tw>o|Mat the vacancies caused by sickness and desertion. 2 The 
Plymouth. f arm ers of South Devon, upon whom the soldiers 
were billeted, refused to supply food to their unwelcome guests 
as soon as they discovered that their pockets were empty. 
Like Mansfeld's men eight months before, the destitute 
recruits made up their minds that they would not die of star- 
vation. Roaming about the country in bands, they killed sheep 
before the eyes of their owners, and told the farmers to their 
faces that rather than famish they would kill their oxen too. 3 

At one time there had been a talk of Buckingham's taking 
the command in person, and a commission had been made out 
in his name ; but he could not be at the Hague and on the 
coast of Spain at the same time, and he perhaps fancied that 
he could do better service as a diplomatist than as an admiral. 
At all events, whilst, much to the amusement of the sailors, he 
retained the pompous title of generalissimo of the fleet, he 
appointed Sir Edward Cecil, the grandson of Burghley 

Cecil to com- ,. , /,-.! t 

mandthe and the nephew of Salisbury, to assume the active 

expedition. comman( j ) w jth the more modest appellation of 
general. 4 Cecil had served for many years in the Dutch army, 
with the reputation of being a good officer. He was now for 
the first time to be trusted with an independent command, and 
the selection was the more hazardous as he was entirely un- 
acquainted with naval warfare. From the first he had attached 
himself closely to Buckingham, who had in vain supported his 

1 Cromwell to Buckingham, Sept. 8, S. P. Dom. vi. 30. 
? The King to Nottingham and Holderness, Aug. 23, ibid, v. 62 
1 Commissioners at Plymouth to the Council, Aug. 12, Sept. I, S, P. 
Dom. vi. 3. 

4 Eliot, Neffotium Posterortim. 


claims to the command in the Palatinate in 1620, but who had 
now sufficient influence to reverse the decision then come to in 
Essex and favour of Sir Horace Vere. The Earl of Essex, who 
Denbigh. was to g O as vice- Admiral, knew as little of the sea 
as Cecil himself; and the same might be said of the Rear- 
Admiral, the Earl of Denbigh, whose only known qualification 
for the post lay in the accident that he was married to Buck- 
ingham's sister. 

Whatever Cecil's powers as a general may have been, he 

had at least a soldier's eye to discern the deficiencies of the 

troops under his orders, and he professed himself as 

Cecil's report puzzled as the Commons had been to discover why, 

on the troops. -,. . , , L i , . 

if no attempt had been made to convert the recruits 
into trained soldiers, they had been levied in May for service 
in September. Buckingham, too, he complained, had been 
recommending officers to him who were not soldiers at all, and 
whom ' he neither could nor durst return.' The arms which 
the men should have been taught to handle were still on board 
ship in the harbour. On September 8, only three out of the 
twenty Dutch ships promised had arrived at Plymouth. 1 

There was, however, one direction in which Cecil's energy 
could hardly be thrown away. In answer to the complaints 

made in Parliament it had been announced that Sir 

Measures . 11. i 

taken against rrancis Steward would be sent out with a squad- 
ron to clear the English seas of the Sallee rovers. 
Steward's attempt had ended in total failure. According to the 
Mayor of Plymouth, his ships had been outsailed by the pirates. 
According to his own account the weather had been against 
him. Parliament, he said, instead of grumbling against the 
King's officers, ought to have passed an Act ensuring them a 
fair wind. 3 

The outcry from the western ports waxed louder than ever. 
It was reported that danger had arisen from another quarter. 
No less than ten privateers had slipped through the Dutch block- 

1 Cecil to Conwav, Sept. 8. S. P. Dom. vi. 36. 

2 The Mayor &c. to the Council, Aug. 12 ; Steward to Buckingham. 
Aug. 1 6, S. P Dom. v. 36, 49. 


ading squadron in front of Dunkirk, ' and were roaming the seas 
ge t to prey upon English commerce. Cecil, when he heard 
Argaii's the news, sent out Sir Samuel Argall in search of the 
enemy. Argall, after a seven days' cruise, returned 
without having captured a single pirate or privateer but he 
was followed by a long string of French and Dutch prizes, 
which he suspected of carrying on traffic with the Spanisn 
Netherlands. Amongst these was one, the name of which 
was, a few months later, to flash into sudden notoriety the 
' St. Peter,' of Havre de Grace. 2 

On September 15 3 the King himself arrived at Plymouth 
to see the fleet and to encourage the crews by his presence, 
rhe King Charles went on board many of the ships, and re 
fnghanTat viewed the troops on Roborough Downs. 4 When 
Plymouth. h e j e f t) on the 24th, Buckingham, who had accom- 
panied him, remained behind to settle questions of precedence 
amongst the officers, and to infuse, if it were possible, some of 
his own energetic spirit into the commanders. As usual, he 
anticipated certain success, and he was unwise enough to obtain 
from the King a public declaration of his intention to confer a 
peerage upon Cecil, on the ground that the additional rank 
would give him greater authority over his subordinates. It was 
given out that the title selected was that of Viscount Wimble- 

1 Hippisley to Buckingham, .Sept. 9, S. P. Dom. vi. 67, 120. 
* Narrative of the Expedition, Sept. 16 ; Examination of the masters 
of the prizes; ibid. vi. 67, 120. 

3 Cecil's Journal, printed in 1626, has been usually accepted as the 
authority for the voyage. But it should be compared with his own de- 
spatches, and with the letters of other officers, such as Sir W. St. I.eger, 
Sir G. Blundell, and Sir T. Love, which will be found amongst the State 
Papers. We have also now Glanville's official narrative, edited by Dr. 
Grosart for the Camden Society. The Journal of the ' Swiftsure ' (S. P. 
Dom. xi. 22) contains a full narrative of the proceedings of the squadron 
under Essex, whilst the proceedings of Denbigh and Argall are specially 
treated of in an anonymous journal (S. P. Dom. x. 67). Geronimo de la 
Concepcion's Cadiz f/.t/ra/a gives the Spanish stcry. In the Tanner 
MSS. (Ixxii. 16) there is a MS. copy of Wimbledon's Journal, annotated 
by some one hostile to the author, thus bearing witness to the correctness 
of his assertions where they are not questioned. 

4 Glativille, 3. 


don, though there was not time formally to make out the patent 
before the sailing of the fleet Buckingham seems to have 
forgotten that honours granted before success has crowned an 
undertaking are apt to become, ridiculous in case of failure. 

This was not the only foolish thing done by Buckingham at 
Plymouth. The sight of Glanville, the author of the last address 
Gianviiie ^ ^ Commons at Oxford, quietly fulfilling his duties 
senton board as Recorder of the Devonshire port, inspired him 
with the idea of maliciously sending a Parliamentary 
lawyer to sea as secretary to the fleet. Glanville pleaded in 
vain that the interruption to his professional duties would cause 
him a heavy loss, and that, as no one but his clerk could, even 
under ordinary circumstances, decipher his handwriting, it was 
certain that when he came to set down the jargon of sailors, 
even that confidential servant would be unequal to the task. 1 

At last, on October 3, forty sail of the great fleet were sent 
on to Falmouth. The remainder lay in the Sound waiting for 
p ct . 3 . their Dutch comrades. They had not long to expect 
parl'of the their coming ; on the 4th the Dutch ships were 
" eet - descried, showing their topsails above the waves, as 

if, as men said, they had come to escort the English fleet upon 
its voyage. On the 5th the anchors were weighed, and the 
united fleet passed out of the harbour and rounded the point 
where the soft woods of Mount Edgcumbe slope down to the 
waters of the Sound. Its fair prospects were soon interrupted. 
The wind chopped round to the south-west, and began to blow 
hard. Essex, with the foremost vessels, took refuge in Fal- 
The storm niouth, but the bulk of the fleet put back to its old 
at Plymouth, anchorage. Plymouth harbour was no safe refuge 
in such a gale, in the days when as yet the long low line of the 
breakwater had not arisen to curb the force of the rolling waves. 
By the next morning all bonds of discipline had given way be- 
fore the anxious desire for safety, and the waters of the Sound 
were covered with a jostling throng of vessels hurrying, re- 
gardless of the safety of each other, to the secure retreat of the 

1 Glanville's reasons, Sept. (?) Woodford to Nethersole, Oct. 8, P. 
Dom. vi. 132 ; vii. 44. Was Glanville's objection the origin of the old 
joke, or did he use it for want of an argument ? 


Catwater. Orders, if given at all, met with but little attention, 
and Cecil himself was forced to get into a boat, and to pass 
from vessel to vessel, in order to exact the least semblance of 

Cecil had long ceased to look upon the expedition with his 
patron's confidence of success. Little good, he thought, would 

come of a voyage commenced so late in the season, 
despon- The spectacle of disorder which he now witnessed 

left a deep impression on his mind. The discipline 
which comes from an energetic and well-arranged organisation 
was entirely wanting, and it was not replaced by the discipline 
which springs from old habits of comradeship, or from the 
devotion which makes each man ready to sacrifice himself to 
the common cause. Buckingham, who in 1624 had fancied 
that military power was to be measured by the number of 
enterprises simultaneously undertaken, fancied in 1625 that the 
warlike momentum of a fleet or army was to be measured by 
its numerical size. He had yet to learn if indeed he ever 
learnt it that thousands of raw recruits do not make an army, 
and that thousands of sailors, dragged unwillingly into a service 
which they dislike, do not make a navy. Cecil knew it, and 
the expedition carried with it the worst of omens in a hesitating 
and despondent commander. 1 

On the 8th the fleet, laden with the fortunes of Buckingham 
and Charles, put to sea once more. It sailed, as it had been 
Oct. s. gathered together, without any definite plan. There 
T^in^Jts were g enera l instructions that a blow should be 
to sea. struck somewhere on the Spanish coast before the 
treasure ships arrived, but no special enterprise had been finally 
selected. At a council held in the King's presence at Ply- 
mouth, Lisbon, Cadiz, and San Lucar had been mentioned as 
points of attack. The general opinion had been in favour of 
an attempt on San Lucar, which, if captured, might be used as 
a basis of operations against Cadiz and the expected treasure 
fleet. Objections had, however, been raised, and the whole 
question had been reserved for further discussion on the spot. 

' Glanvillc, 7. Cecil to V-oke, Oct. 8, undated in Caba'a, 370; Cecil 
to Buckingham, April 28, Sept. 26, 1626, S. P. Dom. Addenda. 


As soon, therefore, as the fleet rounded Cape St. Vincent, Cecil 
called a council. The masters of the ships declared tha,t it 
would be dangerous to enter the harbour of San 
Th e C councii Lucar so late in the year. Some who were present 
ofwaratsea. strongly in favour of seizing Gibraltar as a 

place of great strength, and easy to be manned, victualled, and 
held if once taken. The majority concurred in rejecting the 
proposal, but hesitated between Cadiz and San Lucar. Upon 
this Argall observed that an easy landing could be effected at 
St. Mary Port in Cadiz Bay. From thence a march of twelve 
miles would bring the troops to San Lucar, a place which was 
certain to capitulate to so large a force without difficulty. 

Argall's advice was adopted, and orders were given to 
anchor off St. Mary Port ; but as the fleet swept up to the 
station a sight presented itself too tempting to be re- 
The fleet in sisted. Far away on the opposite side of the bay 
Cadiz Bay. j ay twelve ta ii s hip s w ith fifteen galleys by their 
side, 1 covering a crowd of smaller vessels huddled under the 
walls of Cadiz. Essex, who led the way in Argall's ship, the 
' Swiftsure,' disobeyed his orders, and dashed at once upon the 

No provision had been made for this conjuncture of 
affairs. To do him justice, Cecil did his best to repair his 
mistake. Sailing through Essex's division, he shouted orders 
to right and left to crowd all sail after the Vice-Admiral. But 
he shouted now as vainly in Cadiz Bay as he shouted a few 
weeks before in Plymouth harbour. The merchant captains 
and the merchant crews, pressed unwillingly into the service, 
had no stomach for the fight. Essex was left alone to his glory 
and his danger, and Cecil, who did not even know the names 
of the vessels under his command, was unable to call the 
laggards to account. 

Of all this the Spanish commanders were necessarily 
ignorant. Instead of turning upon the unsupported ' Swift- 
sure,' they cut their cables and fled up the harbour. It was a 

1 There is a discrepancy about the numbers. I take them from Cecil's 
Journal. Glanville says there were fifteen or sixteen ships, and eight or 
nine galleys. 


moment for prompt decision. Had a Drake or a Raleigh 
Flight of the been m command, an attempt would doubtless have 

Spaniards. k een ma( J e to f o ll ow U p t he blow. Cecil Was HO 

sailor, and he allowed his original orders for anchoring to be 
quietly carried out. 

At nightfall a council of war was summoned on board the 
flagship. The project of marching upon San Lucar was aban- 
doned, as it was discovered that the water at St. Mary Port was 
too shallow to allow the boats to land the men with ease. 
Though it was not known that a mere handful of three hundred 
men formed the whole garrison of Cadiz, 1 the flight of the 
Spanish ships had given rise to a suspicion that the town was 
but weakly defended. Some voices, therefore, were raised for 
an immediate attack upon the town. The majority, however, 
too prudent to sanction a course of such daring, preferred to 
think first of obtaining a safe harbour for the fleet. The coun- 
Puntaitobe c il therefore came to a resolution to attack the fort 
attacked. o f p un tal, which guarded the entrance, barely half a 
mile in width, leading to the inner harbour, where the vessels 
had taken refuge. The obstacle did not seem a serious one. 
" Now," said one of the old sailors, " you are sure of these 
ships. They are your own. They are in a net. If you can 
but clear the forts to secure the fleet to pass in safely, you may 
do what you will." Nothing could be easier, it was thought, 
than to take the fort Sir William St. Leger alone protested 
against the delay. Part of the fleet, he argued, would be 
sufficient to batter the fort. The remainder might sail in 
at once against the ships whilst the enemy's attention was dis- 
tmcted. St. Leger, however, was not a sailor, and, good as 
his advice was, it was rejected by a council of war composed 
mainly of sailors. 

five Dutch ships and twenty small Newcastle 

Failure of * * 

the first colliers were accordingly ordered to attack the fort at 

a 'oct 23 o nc e. As Cecil watched the flashes of the guns 

lighting up the night, he flattered himself that his 

orders had been obeyed. But when morning dawned he learned 

1 Geronimo de la Conception, 458. 


that the English colliers had taken advantage of the darkness to 
remain quietly at anchor, whilst the Dutchmen, overmatched 
in the unequal combat, had been compelled to draw off before 
midnight with the loss of two of their ships. 

A rope at the yard-arm would doubtless have been Drake's 
recipe for the disease. Cecil was of a milder nature. Rowing 
from ship to ship, he adjured the cowards to advance for very 
shame. Finding that he might as well have spoken to the 
winds, he went on board the 'Swiftsure,' and directed Essex 
Second to attack. The ' Swiftsure ' was at once placed op- 
posite the enemy's batteries, and was well seconded 
by her comrades of the Royal Navy. Nothing, however, would 
induce the merchant crews to venture ''nto danger. Clustering 
timidly behind the King's ships, they contented themselves 
with firing shots over them at the fort. At last one of them 
clumsily sent a shot right through the stern of the ' Swiftsure,' 
and Essex, losing patience, angrily ordered them to cease firing. 

Such an attack was not likely to compel the garrison to 
surrender, and it was only upon the landing of a portion of 
Surrenderor ^ e troops that the fort at last capitulated. The 
Spanish commander, Don Francisco Bustamente, 
struck by the gallant bearing of the ' Swiftsure,' asked who was 
in command. " Do you know," was the reply, " who took 
Cadiz before?" "Yes," he said, "it was the Earl of Essex." 
" The son of that earl," he was told, " is in the ship " " Then," 
replied the Spaniard, " I think the devil is there as well." A 
request that he might be allowed to pay his respects to Essex 
was promptly accorded, and his reception was doubtless such 
as one brave man is in the habit of giving to another. 

It was late in the evening before Puntal was in the hands of 

the English. By that time all hope of taking Cadiz by surprise 

was at an end. Whilst Essex was battering Puntal 


mentsfor Spanish troops were flocking into Cadiz, and that 
night the town was garrisoned by four thousand 
soldiers. It was true that the place was only provisioned for 
three days, but the Spanish galleys quickly learned that they 
could bring in succours in spite of the English, and Cadiz was 
soon provisioned as well as guarded. 
VOL. vi. c 


On the morning of the 24th Cecil was busily employed in 

getting ashore the army of which, as a soldier, he wished to 

2 take the command in person. By his orders Denbigh 

The troops to called a council of war, which was to decide what was 

ed ' next to be done. The council recommended that 

provisions should be landed for the soldiers, that an attempt 

should be made to blockade Cadiz, and that the Spanish ships 

at the head of the harbour should at last be pursued. 

Whilst the council was still sitting, a scout hurried in with 
intelligence that a large force of the enemy was approaching 
The march from the north, where the island, at the southern end 
northwards. Q f wn i c h Cadiz was situated, swelled out in breadth 
till it was cut off from the mainland by a narrow channel 
which was crossed by only one bridge. Fearing lest he should 
be taken between this force and the town, Cecil gave hasty 
orders to advance to meet the enemy. The Spaniards, how- 
ever, were in no hurry to bring on an action against superior 
numbers, and prudently drew back before him. 

After a six miles' march the English discovered that no enemy 
was in sight. Cecil, however, did not appear to be in the least 
disconcerted. " It seemeth," he said to those who were near 
him, " that this alarm is false ; but since we are thus forwards 
on our way, if you will, ne will march on. It may be we may 
light on some enemy. If we do not, we may see what kind of 
bridge it is that hath been so much spoken of." * 

Cecil, in fact, lighted on an enemy upon whose presence he 

had failed to calculate. In the hurry of the sudden march no 

one had thought of seeing that the men carried pro- 

J he soldiers . . 

among the visions with them. It is true that stores had been 

wine-casks. .... . . , . . 

sent from the ships, in pursuance of the decision of 
the council of war. Yet even if these had been actually landed, 
they would hardly have reached the army, which was already 
engaged in its forward march, till too late to provide a meal for 

1 This would be almost incredible, if it did not stand on Cecil's own 
authority. The marginal note in the copy amongst the Tanner MSS. 
remarks : "The first time an army marched so far to answer a false alarm, 
and it were fit his Lordship would nati those some of the council he spake 
to, that were not against his going to the bridge." 


that day. As a matter of fact, they were never landed at all. 
The officer in command of Fort Puntal alleged that he had 
no orders to receive them, and sent them back to the ships. 
Cecil's force was thus in evil plight. Many of the soldiers had 
not tasted food since they had been landed to attack Puntal 
the day before. Ever since noon they had been marching with 
the hot Spanish sun beating fiercely on their heads. Cecil, 
in mercy, ordered a cask of wine to be brought out of a neigh- 
bouring house to solace the fasting men. Even a little drop 
would have been too much for their empty stomachs, but the 
houses around were stored with wine for the use of the West 
India fleets. In a few minutes casks were broached in every 
direction, and well-nigh the whole army was reduced to a state 
of raving drunkenness. Interference was useless, and the 
officers were well content that the enemy was ignorant of the 
chance offered him. 

Disgraceful as the scene was, it had no appreciable effect 

Oct a upon the success or failure of the expedition. When 

Retreat to morning dawned it was evident that the men could 

not be kept another day without food, even if there 

had been any object to be gained by their remaining where they 

Failure of were. 1 Leaving therefore a hundred poor wretches 

upon'the 1 * ty m g drunk in the ditches to be butchered by the 

ships. Spaniards, Cecil returned to Puntal, to learn that the 

attack which he had ordered upon the Spanish ships had not 

1 Let Cecil be judged by his own Journal. " Now this disorder hap- 
pening," he writes, " made us of the council of war to consider that since 
the going to the bridge was no great design, but to meet with the enemy 
and to spoil the country, neither could we victual any men that should be 
left there, and that the galleys might land as many men as they would 
there to cut them off : and that when my Lord of Essex took Cadiz, 
Conyers Clifford was taxed by Sir Francis Vere . . . with mistaking the 
directions that were given him to go no further from the town than the 
throat of the land, which is not above two miles, where he might be se- 
conded and relieved, and be ready to relieve others ; but he went to the 
bridge, which was twelve miles off ; so in regard there was no necessity, 
this disorder happening and want of victuals, we resolved to turn back again, 
which we did." The marginal note to this is, " Why did his Lordship 
then go to the bridge without victuals and to lose time, having such a. 
precedent against it ? " 

C 2 


been carried out. Their commanders had made use of their 
time whilst the English were battering Puntal. Warping their 
largest vessels up a narrow creek at the head of the harbour, 
they had guarded them by sinking a merchantman at the 
entrance. Argall, to whom the attack had been entrusted by 
Denbigh, had only to report that the thing was impracticable. 
However great may be the risk in forming an opinion on im- 
perfect data, it is difficult to resist the impression that a com- 
bined attack by sea and land would not have been made in vain, 
and that if Wimbledon, instead of wasting his time in pursuing a 
flying enemy, had contented himself with acting in conjunction 
with Argall, a very different result would have been obtained. 

However this may have been, it was now too late to re- 
pair the fault committed. A reconnaissance of the fortifica- 
tions of Cadiz convinced the English commanders that the 
town was as unassailable as the ships. The Mexico fleet, the 
main object of the voyage, was now daily expected, and there 

Oct. 27. was no time to linger any longer. On the 27th the 
embwked re men were re-embarked. The next day Puntal was 

Oct. 28. abandoned, and the great armament stood out to sea 
as majestic and as harmless as when it had arrived six days 

On November 4 the English fleet arrived at its appointed 
station, stretching out far to seaward from the southern coast of 

NOV. 4 . Portugal. Though no man on board knew it, the 
The look-out quest was hopeless from the beginning. The Spanish 

for the 1,1 r v i 

Mexico fleet, treasure ships, alarmed by the rumours of war which 
had been wafted across the Atlantic, had this year taken a long 
sweep to the south. Creeping up the coast of Africa, they had 
sailed into Cadiz Bay two days after Cecil's departure. 1 

It may be that fortune was not wholly on the side of Spain. 
Judging by the exploits of the merchant captains before Puntal, 
it is at least possible that, if a collision had taken place, instead 
of the English fleet taking the galleons, the galleons might have 
taken the English fleet. At all events, if the Spaniards had 
trusted to flight rather than to valour, the English vessels would 

1 Atye to Acton, De ^ a8 , S. P. Spain. See, however, Mr. Dalton's 
Life of Sir E. Cecil, where is the best account of this voyage. 


hardly have succeeded in overtaking them. With their bottoms 

foul with weeds, and leaking at every pore from long exposure 

Nov. 16. to the weather, they found it hard to keep the sea at 

Return to a n. Cecil had at first resolved to keep watch till the 


2oth, but on the i6th he gave orders to make sail for 
home with all possible speed. 

There was indeed no time to lose. The officials who had 
been cnarged with supplying the fleet had been fraudulent or 
careless. Hulls and tackle were alike rotten. One ship had 
Bad con- been sent out with a set of old sails which had done 
fhips n and the service in the fight with the Armada. The food was 
men - bad, smelling ' so as no dog in Paris Garden would 

eat it.' 1 The drink 2 was foul and unwholesome. Disease 
raged among the crews, and in some cases it was hard to bring 
together a sufficient number of men to work the ships. One 
by one, all through the winter months, the shattered remains 
of the once powerful fleet came staggering home, to seek refuge 
in whatever port the winds and waves would allow. 

It was certain that so portentous a failure would add heavily 
to the counts of the indictment which had long been gathering 
December, against Buckingham. Some indeed of the causes of 
Bucking- failure were of long standing. In the King's ships 

hams part -n 

the matter, both officers and men were scandalously underpaid, 
and many of them thought more of eking out their resources 
by peculation than of throwing themselves heart and soul into 
the service of their country. Nor was it fair to expect, after 
the long peace, that efficiency which is only attainable under 
the stress of actual warfare. Yet, if the actual conduct of the ex- 
pedition were called in question, it would be in vain for Bucking- 
ham, after his defiant challenge to public opinion at Oxford, to 
argue before a new House of Commons that he was not answer- 
able for Cecil's neglect of his opportunities at Cadiz, and still 
less for the accident by which the Mexico fleet had escaped 

1 Sir M. Geere to W. Geere, Dec. 1 1, S. f. Dom. xi. 49. 

* Beverage, the term used in these letters, is the usual word in 
Devonshire now for common cyder, but it seems, from a passage in one of 
Cecil's letters (Glanville, xxxiv.), to have been made with sack. It was 
probably wine and water. 


After all allowances have been made for exaggeration, is it easy 
to deny that the popular condemnation was in the main just ? 
The commanders of the expedition, and the officials at home by 
whom the preparations were made, were Buckingham's nomi- 
nees, and the system of personal favouritism, the worst canker 
of organisation, had never been more flourishing than under his 
auspices. Nor was it only indirectly that the misfortunes of 
the expedition were traceable to Buckingham. If, upon his 
arrival at Cadiz, Cecil had been too much distracted by the 
multiplicity of objects within his reach to strike a collected 
blow at any one of them, so had it been with the Lord High 
Admiral at home. Undecided for months whether the fleet was 
to be the mere auxiliary of an army which was to lay siege to 
Dunkirk, or whether the army was to be the mere auxiliary of a 
fleet of which the main object was the capture of the Plate fleet, 
he had no room in his mind for that careful preparation for a 
special object which is the main condition of success in war as 
in everything else. 

If Cecil's errors as a commander were thus the reflec- 
tion, if not the actual result, of Buckingham's own errors, the 
other great cause of failure, the misconduct of the merchant 
captains, brings clearly before us that incapacity for recognising 
the real conditions of action which was the fertile source of 
almost all the errors alike of Buckingham and of Charles. The 
great Cadiz expedition, of which Raleigh had been the guiding 
spirit, had been animated, like all other successful efforts, by 
the joint force of discipline and enthusiasm. A high-spirited 
people, stung to anger by a lifelong interference with its reli- 
gion, its commerce, and its national independence, had sent 
forth its sons burning to requite their injuries upon the Spanish 
nation and the Spanish king, and ready to follow the tried and 
trusted leaders who had learned their work through a long and 
varied experience by sea and land. How different was every- 
thing now ! It is hardly possible to doubt that the war of 1625 
never was and never could have been as popular as the war 
of 1588 and 1597. Charles was not engaged in a national war, 
but in one which was political and religious, awakening strong 
popular sympathies, indeed, so long as the home danger of a 


Spanish marriage lasted, but liable to be deserted by those sym- 
pathies when that danger was at an end. Nor, if enthusiasm 
were lacking, was its place likely to be supplied by discipline. 
The commanders were personally brave men, and most of them 
were skilled in some special branch of the art of war, but they 
had been utterly without opportunities for acquiring the skill 
which would have enabled them to direct the motions of that 
most delicate of all instruments of warfare, a joint military and 
naval expedition. It is possible that after eight or ten years of 
war so great an effort might have been successful. It would 
have been next to a miracle if it had been successful in 1625. 

The worst side of the matter was that Charles did not see in 
the misfortunes which had befallen him any reason for attempt- 
No serious m g to probe the causes of his failure to the bottom. 
tSoa, SU8a ~ Some slight investigation there was into the mistakes 
which had been committed in Spain ; but nothing 
was done to trace out the root of the mischief at home. Sir 
James Bagg and Sir Allen Apsley, who had victualled the fleet 
before it sailed, were not asked to account for the state in 
which the provisions had been found, and they continued to 
enjoy Buckingham's favour as before. No officer of the dock- 
yard was put upon his defence on account of the condition of 
the spars and sails. There was nothing to make it likely that if 
another fleet were sent forth in the next spring it would not be 
equally unprovided and ill-equipped. In the meanwhile the 
King and his minister had fresh objects in view, and it was 
always easy for them to speak of past failures as the result of 
accident or misfortune. 



EVEN if the Cadiz expedition had not ended in complete 
failure, the difficulties resulting from the French alliance would 
_ , have been likely to cause Charles serious embarrass- 


The French ment. Every step which he had taken since the 
alliance. meeting of his first Parliament had been in the 
direction of a closer understanding with the Protestant powers. 
He had begun again to execute the penal laws. He had signed 
a treaty with the Dutch, and he was about to send Buckingham 
to the Hague to sign another treaty with the King of Denmark 
and the princes of North Germany. When Parliament met 
again, he hoped to be able to stand forth in the character of a 
leadei of the Protestantism of Europe. 

Such schemes as these were fatal to the French alliance. 
Louis's idea of that alliance was evidently that of a man who 
Bucking- wishes to play the first part. Buckingham wished to 
ham's plans. pj a y t h e fi rst p art too jj e re solved to cross over a 
once to Holland, and then, when the foundations of a great 
... , Protestant alliance had been surely laid, to pass on 

His proposed J 

risitto to Pans. Once more he would summon the King 
of France to join England in open and avowed war 
against Spain and her allies, no longer, as he had done in May, 
as the representative of England alone, but as the leader of a 
mighty Protestant confederacy, offering to France the choice 
between the acceptance of English leadership or the isolation 
of neutrality. 


Buckingham, indeed, had no difficulty in persuading himself 
that the offer which he was about to make was worthy of the 
acceptance of Louis. The Spanish treasure of which Cecil had 
gone in search was already his by anticipation. When the fleet 
returned there would be enough money to keep up the war in 
Germany for many a year, and the Flemish ports, so long the 
objects of his desire, would at last be snatched from Spinola's 
tenacious hold. 1 

There were reasons enough why the husband of Anne of 
Austria should be unwilling to receive a visit from the audacious 
Objects of upstart who had ventured to pay public court to the 
LOUIS. Queen of France ; and Louis, as soon as he heard 

of the proposal, peremptorily instructed Blainville, the new 
ambassador whom he was despatching to England, to refuse 
permission to Buckingham to enter his kingdom. 2 Politics had 

1 The views of the English Government may be gathered from a pas- 
sage in the instructions drawn up as a guide to some one whom it was in- 
tended to send to Gustavus. "And because we are seated most properly 
and best furnished for maritime actions, we have undertaken that part, 
though it be of greatest cost, and which will, in a short time, by the grace 
of God, render all the land service easy and profitable to those that shall 
attempt it. And therefore we shall expect that both our dear uncle the 
King of Denmark and the King of Sweden will, upon your reasons heard, 
go on cheerfully for the stopping of the progress of the enemy's conquests 
by land, without calling to us for contribution in that, wherein principally 
must be regarded the present conservation of all the sea towns which might 
any way give Spain a port of receipt for their ships that may come from 
thence that may be bought or built in these parts, or may correspond with 
the ports of Flanders. And it will not be amiss when you shall fall into 
deliberation with that king, to consult and consider with him the great 
importance of taking away the harbours of Flanders from the King of 
Spain, and to prove how far he might be moved to join with us. , our uncle 
of Denmark, and the States, to make one year's trial to thrust the King of 
Spain from the seacoasts of Flanders." Instructions for Sweden, Oct. 17> 
Rymer, xviii. 212. 

2 " Je me passionne de sorte pour votre contentement que je ne crains 
point de vous mander si franchement mon avis, et vous etes assez du monde 
pour penetrer ce qui ne me seroit pas bienseant d'ecrire," is Ville-aux 

Clercs' explanation on giving the orders to Blainville, ^Y~^ 4 Kin^s A/SS, 
137, P- SIS- 


undoubtedly as much part as passion in the matter. Not 
only was the question between Louis and Buckingham the 
question of the leadership of half Europe, but Louis 
be made had reason to suspect that he would have to guard 
against the interference of England nearer home. 
Buckingham, in fact, was instructed, as soon as he reached 
Paris, to require the immediate restoration of the English 
ships which had been used at Rochelle, 1 and to ask that an 
end should at once be put to the unnatural war between the 
King and the Huguenots. 

The demand, that Charles should be empowered to interfere 
between Louis and his subjects, was to be made in the most 
offensive way. Buckingham's instructions ran in the following 
terms : "To the end they," that is to say, the French Pro- 
testants, " may not refuse the conditions offered them for the 
only doubt of not having them kept, you shall give them our 
Royal promise that we will interpose our mediation so far as 
that those conditions shall be kept with them ; and if this will 
not satisfy them, you shall give them our kingly promise that 
if by mediation you cannot prevail for them, we will assist them 
and defend them." In other words, when Louis had once 
given his promise to the Huguenots, it was to be considered as 
given to the King of England, so that if any disputes again 
arose between him and his subjects, Charles might be justified 
in intervening in their favour if he thought fit so to do. 

Buckingham, in fact, not content with taking the lead in 
Germany, was to dictate to Louis the relations which were 
to exist between himself and his subjects ; and that too at a 
moment when the English Government was fiercely repudiating 
a solemn contract on the ground that it did not become a king 
of England to allow a foreign sovereign to intervene between 

1 Coke, who knew nothing of the circumstances which had induced 
Buckingham to surrender the ships, answers Lord Brooke's inquiries as 
follows : " For the French, I will excuse no error ; nor can give you any 
good account how the instruction for the ships not to be employed against 
them of the religion was changed. Only this I can assure your Honour, 
that I had neither hand nor foreknowledge of it. Now, our eyes are 
opened, and we shall endeavour by all means to recover the ships as soon 
as is possible. "Coke to Brooke, Nov. 5, Melbownc MSS. 


himself and his people. 1 Before Buckingham left England, he 
had to learn that Louis had ideas of his own on the manner 
in which France was to co-operate with England. He was 
summoned back to Salisbury, where Charles halted on his 
return from reviewing the fleet at Plymouth, to hear what 
Blainville had to say. 

On October n the new ambassador was admitted to an 
audience. He, indeed, had brought with him instructions to make 
i proposals, if satisfaction could be given to Louis on 
Biainviiie's other matters, which, as far as the war was concerned, 
Thl^Freiich ought not to have been unacceptable. Louis was 
overtures. rea dy to furnish too,ooo/., payable in two years, to the 
King of Denmark. He also promised to join Charles in giving 
support to Mansfeld's army, and consented to an arrangement, 
already in progress, for transferring that force to Germany, and 
placing Mansfeld under the command of the King of Den- 
mark. 2 If Louis, however, was prepared to do as much as this, 
he was prepared to ask for something in return. He could 
hardly avoid asking for the fulfilment of Charles's promise to 
free the English Catholics from the penal laws ; and now that 
Soubise had been defeated he would be likely to press for the 
entire submission of Rochelle, though he was ready to promise 
that the Huguenots should enjoy religious liberty, a privilege, 
as he afterwards wrote to Blainville, which was not allowed to 
the Catholics in England. In speaking to Charles, the French- 
man began in the tone of complaint. To his remonstrances 
about the English Catholics, Charles at first replied that he 
had only promised to protect the Catholics as long as they 
behaved with moderation. It was for himself to interpret this 
promise, and he took upon himself to say that they had not 
so behaved. He then added the now familiar argument that 
the secret article had never been taken seriously, even by the 
French Government 

1 Conway to Carleton, Oct. 7, S, P. Holland. Instructions to Buck- 
ingham, Rymer, xviii. 

2 Louis XIII. to Blainville, Sept. ^ ; Blainville to Louis XIII. 

Oct. ^-^ KingsMSS. 137, pp. 274, 350, 385 ; Villermont, E. de Mattf 

t t ii'. ?2i. 


The tone of the conversation grew warmer, and a fresh 

demand of the ambassador did not serve to moderate the 

excited feelings on either side. Soubise had brought with 

him to Falmouth the ' St. John,' a fine ship of the 

John 'at French navy, which he had seized at Blavet. 1 This 

ship Louis naturally claimed as his own property, 

which Charles was bound to restore Charles, on the other 

hand, being afraid lest it should be used, as his own ships had 

been used, against Rochelle, hesitated and made excuses. 

The state of the Queen's household, too, ministered occasion 
of difference. Charles wished to add English officials to those 
The Queen's wno had been brought over from France, and he 
household, peremptorily refused to discuss the question with 
Blainville. He intended, he said, to be master in his own house. 
Tf he gave way, it would be from the love he bore to his wife, 
and for no other reason. 

The next day the ambassador waited on Buckingham. The 

conversation was carried on in a more friendly tone than that of 

Oct. 12. his conversation with Charles. In other respects it 

Blainville was no t m ore satisfactory. Buckingham treated all 

visits Buck- ' 

ingham. the subjects in dispute very lightly. If anything had 
gone wrong the fault was in the necessities of the time. Instead 
of troubling himself with such trifles, the King of France ought 
to treat at once for an offensive league against Spain. As for 
himself, he was said to have ruined himself for the sake of 
France. He was now going to the Hague to save himself by 
great and glorious actions. If France pleased, she might take 
her place in the league which would be there concluded. If she 
refused, England would have all the glory. 

Buckingham, as Blainville pointed out, had two irrecon- 
cilable objects in view. On the one hand he wished to ingratiate 
himself with English public opinion by placing himself at the 
head of a Protestant League ; on the other hand he wished to 
show, by driving France to follow his lead on the Continent, that 
his original overtures to that power had not been thrown away. 3 

1 See Vol. V. p. 304. 

* Tillieres, Me moires, 105 ; Blainville to Louis XIII., Oct. -*- 

33, 2O, 

King's MSS. 137, p. 409, 438. 


Neither Louis nor Richelieu was likely to stoop as low as 
was expected of them. Blainville was instructed to announce 
that the ' Vanguard,' as being Charles's own pro- 
thTiFrfnch perty, should be given up, but that the merchant 
ent ' vessels, which had been expressly hired for eighteen 
months, would not be surrendered. He was to say that the 
Huguenots could not be allowed to carry on a rebellion against 
their lawful sovereign, and if Charles was so solicitous for 
religious liberty, he had better begin the experiment with his 
own Catholic subjects. 1 After this it was useless to lay before 
Charles the proposal for rendering assistance to Mansfeld which 
Blainville had been instructed to make under more favourable 
circumstances. Even the protest against Buckingham's visit 
to France was left unuttered for the present. 

Buckingham was too anxious to reach the Hague as soon 
t e m ber as P oss ^ D ^ e > to await the issue of these negotiations 
The oppo- at Salisbury. But before he left the King, arrange- 
:ers " ments had been made for dealing in various ways with 
those Peers who had taken part in the opposition in the last 
Parliament. Of these Abbot might safely be disregarded. He 
Abbot and had nothing popular about him except his firm attach- 
Pembroke. me nt to the Calvinistic doctrine, and he had long 
been left in the shadow by James, who had displayed a strong 
preference for the cleverness and common sense of Williams, 
as Charles displayed a strong preference for the sharp decision 
of Laud. 2 It was a different matter to deal with Pembroke, 
the richest nobleman in England, 3 who commanded numerous 

1 Memoir sent by De Vic, Oct. ^ ; Louis XIII. to Blainville, ^ 
King's MSS. 137, p. 470, 482. 

1 The idea, almost universal amongst historians, that Abbot was thrown 
into the shade by his accidental homicide in 1621, is not borne out by con- 
temporary writers, and his want of influence may be easily accounted for 
from the causes mentioned above. Fuller is doubtless the original autho- 
rity for the usual opinion, but Fuller's story has long ago been shown by 
Hacket to have been based upon a misapprehension of the facts. 

1 To the first subsidy of the reign Pembroke paid 7OO/., standing 
alone ; then came Northumberland. Rutland, and Devonshire, with 6oo/. ; 
Buckingham, Derby, Cumberland, Hertford, Northampton, Petre, and 


seats in the House of Commons, 1 and whose influence was not 
to be measured by the votes thus acquired. At first, indeed, 
Charles's temper had got the better of him, and on his journey 
to Plymouth he had treated Pembroke with marked disfavour. 
The Earl was not accustomed to be slighted, and replied 
with a counter-demonstration. As he passed through Sherborne 
he paid a formal visit to Bristol, who was still in disgrace. 
The significance of the step could not be misinterpreted, and 
Charles lost no time in renewing the old familiarity to which 
Pembroke was never insensible. Buckingham was with the 
King at Salisbury on his return journey, when he made an early 
call at Wilton ; and, though Pembroke was still in bed and 
could not see him, it was afterwards understood that the tern 
porary estrangement was at an end. 2 

Abbot and Pembroke belonged to that section of the Opposi- 
tion which it was Buckingham's object to conciliate Arundel 
Arundeiand an d Williams were in different case. As a great 
Williams. nobleman, not mixing much in the business of govern- 
ment, Arundel could hardly be touched ; but Williams had 
incurred Buckingham's bitterest displeasure, and was easily 
assailable in his official position. His strong sense had led him 
to condemn alike the extravagances of the new reign and the 
shifts to which Charles had been driven in order to cover those 
extravagances from the popular view. He had shown a sad 
want of confidence in the success of those vast armaments in 
which Buckingham trusted, and he had been sufficiently un- 
courtierlike to dissuade the King from summoning the Commons 
to Oxford, and to suggest that if Charles had really given his 
word to the King of France that he would relax the penal laws, 
it was dangerous as well as impolitic to break it. 

Robartes, with4OO/. Book of tJie Subsidy of the Nobility, Oct. 2, S. P. Dom, 
vii. 6. 

1 Rudyerd to Nethersole, Feb. 3, 1626, S. P. Dom. xx. 23. ' All my 
Lord's letters were sent out,' means Pembroke's letters, not ' the Duke's,' 
as given in the Calendar. See also a letter from Sir James Bagg, in S. P. 

* North to Leicester, Sept. 28, Oct. 17 ; Pembroke to Leicester, 
Sept. 29, Sydney Pagers, B. 360, 363. 


It was easier to resolve to get rid of the Lord Keeper than 
to find an excuse for dismissing him. At first he had been 
charged with entering upon conferences at Oxford with the 
0^ a leading members of the Opposition in the Commons. 
Dismissal of This charge, however, he was able to meet with a 
ims " denial, though there is reason to believe that he 
was so convinced of Buckingham's folly in pitting himself 
against the House of Commons that he had boasted that if 
he were turned out of office, all England would take up his 
cause. 1 Charles was highly displeased with this language, but 
it was hardly possible to disgrace a Lord Keeper on the mere 
ground that he had vaunted his own popularity. At last some 
courtier reminded the King that his father had entrusted the 
Great Seal to Williams for three years on probation, and that the 
time fixed had now expired. Charles caught at the suggestion, 
and Williams, unable to defend himself against a form of attack in 
which no direct imputation on his conduct was necessarily im- 
plied, surrendered his office. Charles, glad to be rid of him, spoke 
to him fairly at the last, but the tone amongst Buckingham's 
followers was different. " May the like misfortune," wrote one 
of them to his patron, " befall such as shall tread in his hateful 
path, and presume to lift their head against their maker ! " 2 

With Lord Keeper Williams worldly wisdom departed from 

the councils of Charles. If he could never have ripened into 

a great or a high-souled statesman, he had always 

Greatness of 

the loss to at command a fund of strong common sense which 

saved him from the enormous blunders into which 

men more earnest and energetic than himself were ready to fall. 

1 " Your Lordship, I know, hath full information of all proceedings 
concerning the change of the Keeper, out happily hath not heard, and will 
hardly believe, that he was so confident in his party and the opinion of his 
worth, that he vaunted, if he were deposed, that he could have intercession 
made for him, not only by the strongest mediators now remaining, but by 
the generality of the land. Yet it pleased the good Bishop rather to sub- 
mit himself to his Majesty's pleasure than to use his strength. "Coke to 
Brooke, Nov. 5, Melbourne MSS. This extract must be compared with 
Rushworth's story that Williams said that he meant to stand on his own legs, 

3 Not ' their heel,' as calendared. Suckling to Buckingham, Oct. 24 ; 
i'. P. Dotn, viiL 37. 


Government was to him a balance to be kept between extreme 
parties. War was distasteful to him, and he cared little or 
nothing for Continental politics. Dogmatism of all kinds he 
regarded with the utmost suspicion. He had no sympathy with 
the persecution of Laud's friends by the House of Commons, 
and no sympathy with the coming persecution of the Puritanj 
by Laud himself. Had Charles accepted him as an adviser, 
the reign would hardly have been eventful or heroic, but it 
would not have ended in disaster. England would have gained 
a great step on its way to liberty, by the permission which 
would, within certain broad limits, have been granted to the 
free development of thought and action. The last clerical 
Lord Keeper in English history was in reality less clerical than 
some of his successors. 

The Great Seal was given to Coventry, whose legal know- 

ledge and general ability were beyond dispute, and whose 

leanings were against all concessions to the Catholics. 

Coventry TT . . ....... 

Lord His accession to office therefore was one more 

announcement of the Protestant tendencies of Buck- 
ingham. " The Duke's power with the King," said a contem- 
porary letter- writer, " for certain is exceeding great, and whom 
he will advance shall be advanced, and whom he doth but 
frown upon must be thrown down." l Heath succeeded Coven- 
try as Attorney-General ; and, with far less excuse, Shilton, whose 
only distinction was that he had been employed by Buckingham 
in his private affairs, followed as Solicitor-General. 

The meaning of the change was soon manifest, at least to 
Treatment of the Catholics. The order for banishing the priests, 
j|^ Catho " given immediately after the dissolution, had not 

Oct. 5. been followed at once by any attempt to interfere 
ment'ofthe w ' tn 'k 6 laity. On October 5, directions were given 
recusants. f or a general disarmament of the recusants ; but it 
was not till Coventry succeeded Williams that any further step 

NOV. 3 . was taken. On November 3 the blow fell. A com- 

The penal mission was issued to provide for the execution of 

forced! the penal laws, with instructions to pay over the fines 

levied to a special fund to be employed in the defence of the 

1 Ingram to Wentworth, Nov. 7, Strafford Letters, i. 28. 


realm. On the yth orders were given to prohibit all minors 
NOV. 7 . from leaving England without licence from the King, 
and to silence all schoolmasters whose teaching was open to 
suspicion. 1 

Charles had probably an instinctive apprehension that the 
persecution of the Catholics would not alone be sufficient to 
secure for him the approbation of the next House of Commons; 
but he was never keen-sighted in discerning the real causes of 
popular dissatisfaction, and he ascribed the attack upon Buck- 
ingham at Oxford to a mere ebullition of factious spite. The 
inference was obvious. If by any means the assailants of his 
minister could be excluded from seats in the coming Parlia- 
ment, the really loyal nature of Englishmen would find unim- 
peded expression. It was like Charles, too, to fancy that if 
only legal right were on his side no one could be justly dissatis- 
fied. With this idea in his head, nothing could seem simpler 
than the course he adopted. A sheriff was bound to attend to 
his duties in his own county, and if the Opposition leaders were 
named sheriffs it was plain that they could not take their seats 
The Opposi- at Westminster. Coke, Seymour, and Phelips were 
ma"e eaders ^ course marked out for the unwelcome honour, 
sheriffs. With them were Alford, who had explained that the 
subsidies voted in 1624 had not been voted for the recovery 
of the Palatinate, and Sir Guy Palmes, who had referred 
unpleasantly to the fate of Empson and Dudley. To these 
five was added a sixth, Sir Thomas Wentworth. 

Wentworth's _ .-,. , . ,-, 

peculiar It was not unknown to Charles that Wentworth had 
little in common with Seymour and Phelips. He was 
anxious, if possible, to obtain service under the Crown, and to 
exercise his undoubted powers of government ; but the war, 
whether it was to be in Spain or Germany, was in his eyes sheer 
madness, and it was plain that he would be as cool about the 
King's Protestant crusade in 1626 as he had been cool about 
his attack upon Spain in 1625. "Wentworth," said Charles, as 
the names were read over to him, " is an honest gentleman." 

1 Commission, Nov. 3, S. P. Dom. Sign Manuals, \. 87 ; the King 
to Buckingham, Nov. 7, S. P. Dom. Addenda. 


The reasons for his exclusion were equally valid whether he 
were honest or not. 1 

Such .a. manoeuvre stands self-condemned by the very fact 
that it was a manoeuvre. It had, however, at least one sup- 
porter amongst those who favoured the vigorous prosecution of 
Rndyerd's tne war - "The rank weeds of Parliament," wrote 
opinion. Rudyerd, "are rooted up, so that, we may expect 
a plentiful harvest the next. I pray God so temper the 
humours of our next assembly that out of it may result that 
inestimable harmony of agreement between the King and hit 
people." 2 

By this time Charles had hoped to receive news of great 
results from Buckingham's diplomacy in the Netherlands : 
but though the Lord Admiral, taking the courtly Holland 
with him, had left Charles at Salisbury in the second week of 
October, his voyage had been sadly delayed. On the i3th a 
Oct ^ terrific storm swept over the Channel and the North 
The escape Sea. The Dutch fleet before Dunkirk was driven 
kirkpriva- from its port, and great was the alarm in England 
when it was told that twenty-two vessels, it was said 
with 4,000 soldiers on board, had escaped to sea. The blow, 
however, fell upon the Dutch fishing vessels, and the English 
coast was spared. 3 

-With the Dunkirk privateers loose upon the world, the Lord 

Admiral could not cross without a convoy, and this 

ham'svoyage was not easily to be found. The great fleet was still 

away at Cadiz, and three English ships had been 

cast away with all hands upon the cliffs between Calais and 

1 Ingram to Wentworth, Nov. , Strafford Letters, i. 29. The name of 
Sir W. Fleetwood is here given as a seventh. He had not sat in the last 
Parliament, but in the Parliament of 1624. He was found ineligible for 
the shrievalty, and was neither a sheriff nor a member of the Commons in 
1626. The first suggestion of making sheriffs in this way which I have 
met with, is in a letter from Sir G. Paul to Buckingham, Oct. 24 ; S. P. 
Dom. viii. 34. 

2 Rudyerd to Nethersole, Nov. 23, S. P. Dom. x. 16. 

* Downing to the Navy Commissioners, Oct. 19 ; Pennington to 
Buckingham, Oct. 23, ibid. viii. 5, 28. 


Boulogne. What vessels were to be had must be hurried to- 
gether for the defence of the country before the Duke's convoy 
could be thought of. 

At last, however, ships were found for. the purpose. On 
November 9 Buckingham was at the Hague, and was astonish- 
NOV. 9. ig the sober citizens of the Dutch capital by the 
P t u t c h k e ingham lavish splendour of his dress and the gorgeous dis- 
Hague. p] a y O f pe ar i s an( j diamonds with which it was 
adorned. He soon allowed it to be known that he had brought 
with him no friendly feeling towards France. " I acknowledge," 
he said, "the power of the King of France. But I doubt his 
good-will." ' 

Buckingham had brought with him, too, his old plan for a 
joint attack with the Dutch upon Dunkirk. The effort, he told 
NOV. ii. the Prince of Orange, should be made at once, as 
"au r ac P k ses tne Spaniards were in no condition to defend the 
Dunkirk. place. The wary Prince knew too much about war 
to relish the idea of a siege to be begun in November, and 
refused to entertain the proposition till the spring. Then 
Buckingham asked that Sluys should be put in his master's 
hands, as a basis of operations for the English army which was 
to hem in the Flemish ports on the land side. The Prince met 
him with the same dilatory response. He was probably of 
opinion that the English army of which Buckingham spoke 
would never have any real existence ; 2 and, even if it had been 
otherwise, he would certainly have been unwilling to confide to 
it the guardianship of so important a fortress. 

The Congress of the Hague, when it met at last, was but a 

poor representation of that great anti-Spanish confederacy for 

which Gustavus had hoped when he first sketched 

The Con- 

gress of the out the plan. Though he was himself engaged in 

the Polish war, he had ordered his ambassador to 

take part in the assembly. Unhappily the ambassador fell ill, 

and died a few days before Buckingham's arrival. Sweden 

1 Vreede, Inleiiiing tot eene Geschiedenis der Ntderlandsche 
ii. 2, 83. 

2 Ibid. ii. 2, 85, Note 2 ; Carleton to Coiiway, Nov. 14, 5. P. Holland. 

u 2 


was therefore entirely unrepresented. The French minister 
stood aloof, and the North German princes took no share in 
the discussions. The representatives of the King of Denmark 
were there alone, to beg for money and men. 

Christian IV. was indeed in sore need. Trusting to the 
promises made to him by Charles, he had gone to war. After 
the first month's contribution Charles had no money to send, 
and he was in no better plight in November than he had been 
in June. Buckingham's instructions, undoubtedly drawn up 
with his own concurrence, authorised him to acquaint the Danish 
ambassadors that the original offer of 3c,ooo/. a month, or its 
equivalent in men, paid by the English exchequer, had only 
been made to give encouragement to the German princes. 
When those princes had once taken the field it was only to be 
expected that they would submit to provide a fair share of the 
expense. Buckingham was therefore to insist upon a large 
reduction of the monthly charge, though he was first to make 
sure that Christian was thoroughly embarked in the cause, 
lest by threatening to stop the supplies he might drive him to 
make his peace with the Emperor. 1 

It is probable that a little conversation with the Danish 
ambassadors convinced Buckingham that if the King of Eng- 
land thus withdrew from his engagements Christian would, 
without doubt, withdraw from the war. At all events nothing, 
so far as we know, was heard of the proposed reduc- 

Nov. 29. 

Treaty of tion. On November 29 the Treaty of the Hague 
the Hague. wag s jg ne( j between England, Denmark, and the 

The Dutch agreed to supply the Danes with 5,ooo/. a month, 
whilst Buckingham engaged more solemnly than ever that the 
3o,ooo/. a month originally promised from England should be 
really sent. 

Large as the sum was, there is reason to suppose that 
the promise was now made in good faith. Parliament would, 
soon meet, and, as Buckingham hoped, all difficulties would 
then be smoothed away. For the immediate future he could 

1 Instructions to Buckingham and Holland, Oct. 17, Rynur, xviii. 211, 


trust to the Crown jewels, which would soon be pawned to 
Dec. 5. the merchants of Amsterdam. The disaster at Cadiz 
ham^slx c- was as ve *- unknown, and every day might bring the 
tations. happy news of victory. A new fleet was to be speedily 
prepared to relieve Cecil's force, and to take up the task of 
blockading the Spanish ports. The flood of mischief would 
thus be arrested at the fountain-head, as when gold no longer 
flowed from Spain, the armies by which Christain was assailed 
would break out into open mutiny. 1 

Proud of victories yet to be won, Buckingham had meditated 

a continuance of his journey to Paris, in order that he might 

add the name of the King of France to the signatures appended 

, to the Treaty of the Hague. His hopes were cut 

He is refused ' 

permi-sion to short by the French ambassador, who plainly told 
him that, till better satisfaction had been given to his 

master's just demands in England, he would not be allowed to 

enter France.' 2 

Buckingham therefore returned to England by the way that 

he had come. He was at once met by news of the failure at 
Cadiz and the return of the fleet. Alone, probably, 

News of the . ' " . J ' 

.failure at of all Englishmen alive, Charles and Buckingham 
failed to realise the magnitude of the disaster, or the 
influence which it would exercise upon the delibora- 

Dec. 16. r 

Parliament tions of the coming session. 3 On December 16 the 

summoned. -rjtr J! L j j. r 

Lord Keeper was directed to issue writs for a new 
Parliament. 4 

It was possible that Parliament might have work on hand 
even more serious than voting supplies for the King of Den- 
. mark. It was by no means unlikely that by the time 

Prospect of 

war with the members were collected at Westminster, England 

France. . . 

would be at open war with France. Charles had 
been seriously vexed at the failure of his effort to frustrate the 

1 Buckingham to Christian IV , Dec. ~ , S. P Holland, 

2 Louis XIII. to Blainville, Dec. -i, King's MSS 137, p. 819. 

1 "Quod vero Regem ef Buckinghamium attinet, illi non multum mo- 
vcntur aut indigaantur. " Rnsdorf to Oxenstjerna. Dec. Mi moires, a. 138. 
4 Kymer, xviii 24.5. 


employment of English vessels at Rochelle, and the first reso- 
lution taken in Council after Buckingham's return was that a 
new fleet should ,be sent out to succour Rochelle, and to bring 
home the ships by force. 1 Orders were accordingly 

Dec. 16. ,,,,,. 

issued that the soldiers who had come back from 
Cadiz should be kept under their colours for future service. 2 

Nor were the differences relating to the fulfilment of the 
marriage treaty in a fairer way to an accommodation. Louis, 
Difficulties indeed, had sent messages to Buckingham after his 
rriag h e e return, that if the English Catholics were relieved 
treaty. from ill-treatment, and if his sister's household were 
permitted to remain as it had been arranged by the contract, 
he would make no further objection to receiving him in France. 3 
On the first point Buckingham could not yield without alienat- 
ing Parliament On the second he could not yield without 
alienating the King. 

Whilst Buckingham was still at the Hague, Charles's exas- 
peration at his wife's French attendants had risen to fever heat. 
The Queen's To their interference, and not at all to his own failure 
household. to k ee p hj s promises, he attributed his domestic 
troubles, and he threatened to send them all back to France. 
More prudent counsels prevailed for a time, and he 

Dec 21 

now contented himself with announcing to the Bishop 
of Mende, the Queen's almoner, his intention of introducing 
English ladies into her household. A man, he repeated once 
more, ought to be master in his own house. The utmost to 
which he would agree was to wait a few days till his resolve had 
been communicated to the Court of France. 4 

To Richelieu the threatened breach between France and 
England, bringing with it a death-struggle with the Huguenots 

1 Blainville to Louis XIII., Dec. ^, Kings MSS. 138, r>- 948. 

2 Proclamations, Car. I., Dec. 16, No. 31, S. P. Dom. 

1 Louis XIII. to Blainville, Dec. ; The Bishop of Mende to Ville- 
aux-Clercs, received 'P^' ' 6 7 , King's MSS. 138, p. 819, 1043. 

4 The King to Buckingham, Nov. 20, Hard-wicke S. P. ii. 23. The 
Bishop of Mende to Louis XIII., ^ 25 , King's MSS. 138, r. 1056. 


of Rochelle, must have been infinitely displeasing. In spite of 
French offers ^ s master's strong feeling that he had been ill-treated, 
to Bucking- he contrived to obtain permission to address fresh 
overtures to Buckingham, assuring him of a good 
reception in France if certain conditions, of which we have no 
particular information, were fulfilled. If he could not come 
on these terms, let him at least send confidential ambassadors 
to smooth away the differences between the two Crowns. 1 

The latter alternative was accepted. Holland was once 

more to go to Paris to make himself agreeable to the Queen 

Mother and the ladies of her court. The real business 

Holland and of the embassy was entrusted to Carleton, who had at 

ton< last been recalled from the Hague, and was now Vice- 
Chamberlain and a Privy Councillor. A diligent, well-informed 
man, too dependent upon office to be likely to take a course of 
his own, and sympathising entirely with the movement against 
Spain without rising into any large view of contemporary politics, 
he was exactly suited for the service for which Buckingham 
required him, and was likely, as time went on, to establish 
himself firmly in his favour. 

Carleton's present work was to mediate a peace between the 
Objects of French Government and the Huguenots, and to 
the mission. p ers u a de Louis to surrender the English ships and 
to join in the alliance of the Hague. 2 

The differences between the two Courts were serious enough 
in themselves. Unhappily there was a political difference 
which was more serious still. In September, whilst the Cadiz 

1 " M. Bautru is on his way for England with letters from the Duke de 
Chevreuse and Marquis d'Effiat, but concerted with the Queen Mother and 
the Cardinal to invite my Lord Duke of Buckingham to come over, which 

many wi*h, but few hold it counselable." De Vic to Con way, Dec. ^' 

" We may not conceal what we understand, that what the Cardinal told us 
of Blainville's revocation was conditional, in case the Lord Duke of Buck- 
ingham came over upon such invitements as were sent him." Holland and 
Carleton to Conway, Feb. 26, 1626, S. P. France. It can hardly be said, 
therefore, that Buckingham could not go to France without first declaring 

* Instructions to Holland and Carleton, Dec. 30, S. P. /-ranct* 


fleet was still at Plymouth, a string of French prizes had been 
September, brought in, charged with carrying goods for the use 
ttafit" e of ^ tne Spanish Netherlands. Under ordinary cir- 
France. cumstances it is hard to persuade neutrals and 
belligerents to take the same view of the law of prize, and there 
was in this case a special difficulty arising from the fact that at 
Whitehall French neutrality was regarded as an underhand 
contrivance for reaping the benefits of war without sharing its 

There was clearly need of inquiry into the nature of the 
cargoes on board the vessels. Besides the French prizes, there 
The French were man y of Dutch nationality, and a few from other 
prizes. parts of Europe. If they had on board goods which 
were the property of Spaniards, those, goods, according to the 
ideas of the day, would be subject to immediate confiscation. 
Contraband Contraband of war again, being carried to Spain or 
the Spanish Netherlands, would be liable to seizure, 
whether it were Spanish property or not ; but it was by no 
means a matter of universal agreement what contraband of war 
was. In the Treaty of Southampton indeed, England and the 
States-General had recently agreed upon a sweeping definition, 
including in that category provisions and the precious metals 
as well as munitions of war and materials used in shipbuilding, 1 
and had declared not only such articles, but even the ships 
and men engaged in the traffic, to be lawful prize. Such an in- 
terpretation of the customary maritime law was not likely to 
commend itself to a neutral seafaring nation. 

Even if this knotty point had been settled, there was another 
behind it. What evidence was to be accepted that the contra- 
Proof of band goods were or were not destined for Spanish 
destination. use p ver y one o f the eleven French vessels seized 
had sailed from a Spanish port, and all of them, with one 
exception, were owned by Calais merchants. 2 It was, however, 
notorious that there were men at Calais whose business it was 
to pass goods as soon as landed over the frontier into Flanders, 

1 Art. 20 of the Treaty ; Dumont, v. 2, 480. 

2 Examinations of the masters of the prize ships, Sept. 29, S. P. Dam. 

VI, 120. 


in much the same way as goods were passed over into Russia 
from Memel in the time of the Crimean war. 1 

It happened that Buckingham was at Plymouth when the 

prizes were brought in. Gold and silver being contraband 

Sept. 27. of war, according to the view taken in England, he 

The money ordered o: io,ooo/. which were on board to be 

on board 7 

sequestered, sequestered, 2 and the remainder of the goods to be 
placed in safe keeping. A few weeks later the cargoes were 

October, stowed again on board, and the prizes brought up 
The prizes to London, to pass through a legal investigation be- 
London. fore the Court of Admiralty. By the beginning of 
November the number of captured French vessels had increased 
to twenty-two. 3 

So far the French had no reasonable ground of complaint ; 
but in the needy circumstances of the treasury the sequestered 
property was too tempting a bait to be long resisted. In Octo- 
ber Buckingham had attempted to borrow 70,000^., in order 
that he might carry with him something to the Hague for the 
immediate supply of the armies of Christian IV. and Mans- 
feld. The security which Charles could offer fell short of the 
required sum by 2o,oooZ.j and Ley and Weston proposed to 
fill the gap by giving a lien upon the first sale of condemned 
prize goods. The suggestion in itself was innocent enough ; 

Oct. 27. but either it was not thought sufficient, or Charles 
Prize money fancied that he could do better. On October 27 

taken and 

goods or- the money already sequestered was taken to be spent 

dered to be ... . . .., ' 

sold. on warlike preparations, and on November 5 orders 

were given to sell goods at once to the required value of 
2o,oooZ., without waiting for a sentence from the Court. 4 

1 Marten to Con way, Nov. 8 ; Joachimi to , S. P. Holland* 

to Quester, S. P. France, 

2 Minutes by Nicholas Feb. (?) 1626, S. P. Dom. xxi. 99. 

3 A minute of the rep'acing of the goods on board, is calendared in Sep- 
tember, but should almost certainly be placed in October. Receipt by Marsh, 
Oct. 11, ibid. vi. 126; xxii. 12, I. Blainville to Louis XIII., Nov. * 
A'itig's MSS. 138, p. 659. 

4 Coke to Conway, Oct. 27, S. P. Dom. viii. 26. Warrant, Nov. 5, 
Sign Manual 1 :, i. 90. 


To Charles the difference may have seemed slight, as, it 
the decision of the Court were against him, he could refund 
the money. There was, however, another side of the question 
NOV. 5. which he had forgotten to consider. Blainville re- 
Biainviiie minded him that, as the cargoes had not been made 
up for the English market, they would not fetch any- 
thing like their full value on, a compulsory sale in London. 1 

The impression produced by Charles's hasty act was likely 
to be worse than the act itself would justify. It gave to the 
Admiralty Court the appearance of being merely an official 
instrument for enforcing confiscation for the benefit of the 
NOV. s. Crown. Sir Henry Marten, the Judge of the Court, 
Marten f e lt the indignity keenly. " For my part," he wrote, 

declines to J *~> 

support the m answer to an appeal from Conway for arguments 
in support of the course which had been taken, " I 
can profess to know no other disposition yet intended, but that 
all the goods should be landed, inventoried, and appraised ; 
and, on Saturday next, all who pretend to any of those ships or 
goods to appear and propound their claims." 2 

Before this remonstrance Charles gave way for a time. 
Buckingham was absent at the Hague, and there was a period of 
Charles's indecision till the guiding spirit of the Government 
indecision. was once more in England. The Council took up 
the question, and on December 4 fresh orders were 
given to proceed with the sale, orders which were 
retracted shortly afterwards. 3 Sir John Coke, who was eager 
for money to enable him to meet the expenses of the fleet, and 
whose official mind could not catch sight of the larger aspects 
of the case, was anxious for instant and sweeping action, "If 
you shall limit the sales," he wrote to Conway, on hearing 
that some half-measure was in contemplation, "as I hear you 
intend, to goods which are out of question, I know not what 
goods can be sold ; since there is neither ship nor particular 
goods therein to man doth pretend." 4 

1 Blainville to Louis XIII., Nov. ^, King's MSS. 138, p. 659. 

* Conway to Marten, Nov. 7, Con-ways Letter Book ; Marten to Con 
way, Nov. 8, S. P. Dom. ix. 32. 

3 Joachimi to , S. P. Holland. 

4 Coke to Conway, Dec. 17, S. P. Dom. xii. i. 


Before Charles had made up his mind, the mere announce- 
ment of his intention had called forth reprisals in France. 
Villars, the governor of Havre, was himself interested in the 
-' St. Peter ' of that port, and on December 7 he arrested two 
Dec. 7 . English vessels lying at Rouen. A fortnight later it 
Reprisals in was known in London that the French authorities were 


contemplating a general embargo upon all English 
property in France, which was only delayed till there was some 
certain intelligence of the course finally adopted in England. 

By this time Buckingham was "again at Court, and the 
arrival of Richelieu's overtures had opened a prospect of 
averting the impending quarrel. " It is necessary for me," 
said Charles, " to preserve my friends and allies." Just as 
Holland and Carleton were starting, an Order in Council was 
drawn up to form a basis for the settlement of the dispute. * 

According to this order the ' St Peter ' of Havre de Grace, 

against which the presumptions were less than against vessels 

Dec. 28. belonging to ''. the merchants of Calais, was to be 

Order in delivered to its owners. Of the remaining ships 

Council for 

the re-de- and their cargoes, whatever was clearly French pro- 

li very of the '. . J . 

'St. Peter.' perty should be given up at once. Against whatever 
was questionable proceedings should be taken, ' without any 
further restraint of sale or other proceeding warrantable by law 
or the course 6f the Admiralty.' 2 

On January 1 1 the ambassadors had their first interview 
with Richelieu. He received them in the most friendly way ; 
' Jan. ii. but he gave it to be understood that till the Hugue- 
Conference n ot rebellion was at an end there could be no open 


Richelieu war with Spam, and that his master could not tolerate 

and the am- ,.. ...,. i i* 

bass-adors. the interference of a foreign king between himself 
and his subjects. They might, however, rest assured that 
there was no intention of persecuting the Protestant religion 
in France. The ' Vanguard ' would be restored as soon as the 

1 Common*' "Journals, i. 823; Palloyseau to Hippisley, -= '-Zh 

Hart. MSS. 1583, fol. 171 ; Joachimi to the States-General, - I ? ec '-^ 

Jan. o, 

Jan. ', Add. MSS. 17,677 L. fol. 130, 119. 

2 Order in Council, Dec. 8, 5 1 . P. Dom. xii. 72. 


prize taken by Soubise was given up. The other vessels had 
been hired from the merchants, and as long as Rochelle was in 
arms it was impossible to dispense with their services. 

The irritation aroused at the French Court by the tone 
which Charles assumed was such as no minister, however 
Feeling of anxious to avert war, could afford to disregard, and 
Louis xiii. j east o f a ji was Richelieu likely to think lightly of 
the honour of his sovereign. Louis himself was particularly 
displeased at the proposal to include him in the treaty signed 
at the Hague without his concurrence. "The league," he 
wrote to his ambassador in the Netherlands, " is not aimed at 
the liberty of the Empire or the abasement of Spain, but at 
the abasement of the Catholic religion and of all the princes 
who profess it, and particularly of myself." One of his minis- 
ters expressed himself in much the same tone. " There 
is a great difference," he wrote, " between proposing to the 
King things done or things to be done. To communicate a 
design and to wish to do nothing without his advice would 
oblige his Majesty, but to propose to him to take part in a 
matter already arranged would have the contrary effect." l 

In Louis's place Charles would have felt precisely, in the 
same manner ; but he had not the tact to perceive that con- 
cession must be made to the feelings of others ; and with the 
consciousness that he had himself contributed, or appeared 
to have contributed, to the misfortunes of Rochelle, he deter- 
mined to support the town against its sovereign, at whatever 
cost to the interests of the rest of Europe. Pennington 
had for some time been getting ready a fleet at Plymouth, 
which was destined in case of necessity to escort Sou- 
bise with provisions for the blockaded Huguenots, and at a 
Jan. 20. council held on January 20 it was resolved that the 
Charles fl ee { should be at once despatched. In order to 


to relieve impart greater energy to the crews it was arranged 

that Buckingham should command in person. The 

deputies from the insurgent city, who were in England seeking 

for aid, were informed that the fleet would proceed to drive the 

1 Extracts given by Vreede, Inleiding tot eene Gtschie tenis der Neder- 

landtche Diplomatie, ii. 2, 85, 87. 


troops of the King of France out of Rhe and Oleron, if the 
Rochellese would consent to leave the islands at Charles's 
disposal till the expenses of the undertaking had been repaid 
to him. 

No secret was made of the rerolution taken. Buckingham 
informed Blainville that his master could no longer remain 
Biainviiie neutral. He had contributed to the ruin ol the 
informed. Protestants by the loan of his ships, and now, with 
one voice, his Council and his people called upon him to under- 
take the defence of those whom he had so deeply injured. If 
war were once declared he would show the world that he was 
not so destitute of men and money as was commonly supposed. 1 

The resolution thus taken at Court could not fail to have 

its effects on the prospects of the owners of the French prizes. 

As far as the ' St. Peter ' was concerned, everything had 

proceeded regularly. Suspicion only attached to some hides 

jan 26 an< ^ a ^ ew otner articles on board. Bonds were ac- 

Orderforthe cepted in the Admiralty Court for the payment of 

of'the* s" their value, in case of their proving to be Spanish 

property, and on January 26 Marten gave orders for 

the delivery of ship and cargo to the owners. 2 

The proprietors of the other vessels had before this fancied 
that their difficulties were at an end. Soon after the Order in 
Council of December 28, goods to the value of 30,0007. were 
given up to them, as being beyond question legitimately French 
property. But when the news of the difficulties made in France 
about the surrender of the English vessels reached England, the 
Government took another tone. On January 24 the 

Jan. 24. . * 

Sale of prize goods were again seized for the King, and out of that 

part of the cargo which was considered contraband 

by the Crown lawyers, though it had not yet been condemned by 

any court of law, property to the value of 7,ooo/. was sold by 

1 Blainville to Louis XIII., Jan. 21, King's MSS. 138, p. 1206. 
Conway to Holland and Carleton, Jan. 21, S. P. France. Buckingham 
to Pennington, Jan. 7 ; Pennington to Buckingham, ^an. 17, S. P. Dom. 
xViii. 18, 75. 

'* Order for taking bonds, Jan. 21, Book of Acts, Admiralty Court, 159 
fol. 30 b. Order for release, Jan. 26, S. P. Dom. xix. 52. 


auction. Having made up his mind to war, it would seem that 
Charles no longer thought it necessary to keep terms with the 
subjects of the King of France. 1 

With the King and Buckingham in this temper, it was not 
likely that even the ' St. Peter ' would be allowed to escape. As 
soon as the order had been issued for its release, Apsley, the 
Lieutenant of the Tower, remonstrated with the Lord Admiral, 
assuring him that he could bring as good evidence against that 
vessel as against the others. To Apsley's statements Buckingr 
ham gave too easy credence, and on February 4, having pre- 
Feb. 4 . viously obtained the King's consent, he ordered the 
Peter '^e- detention of the ship. It is perhaps not an unreason- 
arrested. a bi e conjecture that the real motive in these pro- 
ceedings was the desire to detain as many pledges as possible 
for the English ships at Rochelle, the recovery of which had 
been the subject of repeated messages to the ambassadors at 
Paris. Buckingham might well doubt his chances of obtaining 
from the approaching Parliament a favourable consideration of 
his policy, if Louis were still engaged in an attack upon the 
Huguenots with the help of English vessels. 

All this time the despatches sent to Paris had been growing 

more peremptory. On January 23 the ambassadors were 

ordered to hasten home if the ships were not sur- 

jan. 23. 

Negotiations rendered. On the 26th Charles was still unyielding, 
in trance, jje had just received a letter from Holland and 
Carleton, telling him that Richelieu, in his master's name, 
insisted on the maintenance of the King's garrisons in Fort 
Louis and the islands of Rh and Oldron, as well as on the 
right to send a Royal Intendant of Justice into Rochelle. The 
Huguenot deputies objected to all three points, and asked for 
the full execution of the treaty of Montpellier. After a time, 
however, they expressed their readiness to withdraw their 
demands. They would reluctantly agree to admit the Intend- 
ant, and to allow the garrisons to remain in the islands. Even 

1 Joachimi to , S. P. Holland. Joachimi to the States-General, 

Feb. -i, Add. MSS. 17,677 L., fol. 143. Blainville to Louis XIII., 
^-f, Kinjt MSS 138, p. 1270, 1273. 


at Fort Louis they would . hot insist upon an immediate dis-> 
armament, if they could hope for its demolition in course of 

The ambassadors were satisfied that peace was virtually 
made. Charles, however, was not satisfied. He thought that the 
The English conditions were insufficient for the safety of Rochelie. 
polmveiy 6 Nothing less than the terms, of the Treaty of Mont- 
demanded. pellier should receive his assent. The ambassadors 
were also to ask for the immediate release of the ships, and if 
that were refused, they were to return at once to England. J 

The error of Louis was coming home to him. If he had 
been faulty in appending to his sister's marriage contract a 
interference condition which involved, an interference with the 
n Frendi administration of English law, Charles was now 
politics. interfering far more incisively in French domestic 
politics. When once it was understood that the Huguenots 
were to owe their recovered independence to English help, a 
situation would be created which would be intolerable even to 
a king of France far less sensitive than Louis on all matters 
connected with his personal authority. In the preceding 
August Richelieu might wisely have argued that it would be 
better for the King to grant all the demands of his Protestant 
subjects, in order that he might turn his attention to external 
war. But it was one thing to grant such demands upon con- 
viction ; it was another thing to grant them to the menaces of 
the King of England. Rochelie, freed from the control of its 
own sovereign by Charles's interposition, would practically be 
an independent republic, resting for security upon the support 
of England. The work of uniting France, handed down as 
the task of centuries from one generation of monarchs to 
another, would receive a blow from which it would be hard to 
recover. An English Rochelie would be a far more potent 
instrument of mischief than even an English Calais had ever 

Such a view of the case was not likely to present itself to 

1 Buckingham to Holland and Carleton, Jan. 23; Holland and Car- 
leton to Conway, Jan. 23 ; Conway to Holland and Carleton, J:i. 10, 
S. P. France. 


Charles. All he saw was that, as his ships had been used for 
the defeat of Soubise, it was his business to take care that the 
Huguenots suffered no loss. By this time, moreover, he had a 
fresh grievance in his own domestic circle, which kept his mind 
in a state of irritation. He had arranged that his own corona- 
tion should take place before the opening of Parliament, and 
he fondly hoped that the Queen would be at his side on that 

solemn occasion. To his surprise he found that his 

refuses U to e be young wife had religious scruples about taking part 

ned> in a Protestant ceremony, and he at once appealed to 

her brother to convince her that she was in the wrong. The 

coronation, Conway wrote to the ambassadors, was 

but a form. " Yet," he added, "it is a wonder, it is 
a disorder, it is a misfortune, so apparent a declaration of a 
difference in judgment, obedience, and conformity." Charles 
got no Jielp from Louis here. The view taken at the French 
Court was, that there would be no harm done if the Queen sub- 
mitted to coronation, provided that none of the Protestant 
clergy took any part in the ceremony. 1 

As this was clearly inadmissible, Charles had to resign 
himself to be crowned alone. Such a consequence he ought 
to have foreseen when he decided upon marrying a Roman 
Catholic princess; but he was bitterly disappointed., and he 

threw the whole blame upon the French ambassador, 
an^with Blainville, according to him, had made it his busi 
* ness> smce his coming into England, to stir up ill-will 
between himself and the Queen. Blainville was certainly not 
conciliatory in his dealings with a Government against which 
he had many and bitter grievances, and he had listened more 
sympathisingly to the Queen's complaints than became an am- 
bassador; but it is undeniable that Henrietta Maria's troubles 
had their root in causes which existed before he set foot in 

The day fixed for the coronation was the 2nd of February. 
The curtained seat which had been prepared for Henrietta 

1 Louis XIII. to Blainville, Jan. ^, King's HfSS. 138. p. 1121. 
Conw.y to Holland and Carleton, Jan. 21, 5. P. Frame. 


Maria at a time when it was still hoped that she might be 
Feb 2 present as a spectator, if she would not take her 
The Corona- part in the ceremony, was empty. Its emptiness must 
have reminded Charles bitterly of the misery of his 
home life and of the most conspicuous failure of his political 
life. Yet there was no want of loyalty in the hearty shout 
the echo of that old cry which had once given to English 
kings their right to sit upon the throne which greeted him as 
he stood in the pride of youthful dignity in the face of the 
assembled multitude. As yet, though the first enthusiasm 
which greeted his accession had passed away, no personal un- 
popularity had gathered round him. Whatever was ill-done 
was attributed to the influence of Buckingham. 1 

1 Meade to Stuteville, Feb. 3 ; D'Ewes to Stuteville, Feb. 3, Ellis, 
ser. I, iii. 220, 213. Mr. Forster is mistaken in supposing that the inci- 
dent of Charles's stumbling, and of his answering, 'when Buckingham 
offered to assist him, " 1 have as much need to help you as you to assist 
me," ' took place ' when all was over, and the King and the Duke came 
wearily away.' It really happened before the coronation, and D'Ewes 
adds that the words were spoken ' with a smiling countenance.' Charles 
doubtless merely meant that he was able to recover his footing without 
help. It would not have been worth while mentioning this, but for the 
doubt which I entertain whether Mr. Forster was right in attributing any 
sort of foreboding of coming evil to Charles. There is no evidence either 
way ; but my impression, from what I know of Charles's character and 
actions, is that he never foreboded evil, and that he was so convinced that 
he was always in the right, that the idea of Parliamentary opposition would 
not occur to him till he was called to face it. 

As for the people not shouting at the coronation when Arundel first 
asked them to do so, I am content with D'Ewes's explanation : "Whether 
some expected he should have spoken more, or others hearing not so well 
what he said, hindered those by questioning which might have heard, or 
that the newness and greatness of the action busied men's thoughts, or 
the presence of so dear a thing drew admiring silence, or that those which 
were nearest doubted what to do, but not one word followed till my Lord 
of Arundel told them they should cry out, ' God save King Charles ! ' upon 
which, as ashamed of their first oversight, a little shouting followed. At 
the other sides where he presented himself there was not the like failing. " 
Joachimi, as Ranke has observed, has no hesitation to tell of. He says 
the answer was given 'with great ciy and shouting.' Joachimi to the 

States-General, Feb. ^, Add. MSS. 17,677 L, fol. 148. 


The new king was thus, to use words spoken by his direction 
a few days later, married to his people. He chose on that day to 
be clothed in white, 1 as the sign of the virgin purity with which 
he came to play a bridegroom's part, instead of in the purple 
robe of sovereignty. Amor avium, Regis presidium was the 
motto which in trustful confidence he placed upon the coins 
which bore the Royal arms impressed upon the sails of a ship 
careering through the waves, the emblem doubtless of that 
great naval victory with which he hoped to illustrate the annals 
of his reign. If Cecil had failed at Cadiz, Buckingham, he 
might think, would hardly fail at Rochelle. Charles, indeed, 
so far as it is possible to judge by the indications which have 
reached us, was preparing to meet the new Parliament with all 
the buoyancy of hopefulness. Neither Coke, nor Phelips, nor 
Seymour would be there to distract the hearts of his faithful 
Commons with factious opposition. So little did the King 
New earl- suspect that he would meet with any difficulty in the 
Upper House that he neglected the opportunity 
which the coronation afforded of raising to the peerage persons 
in whom he could confide. No additional votes were gained 
by the earldoms which he distributed amongst members of the 
existing peerage, and it was only a matter of personal importance 
to themselves that Lord Ley, for instance, would for the 
future be known as Earl of Marlborough, Viscount Mandeville 
as Earl of Manchester, and Lord Carew as Earl of Totness. 

There were yet a few days before the meeting of Parliament, 

and if Charles had been capable of rising into a statesmanlike 

Jan. 25. view of his relations with France, he would have 

between'"" 15 se i ze d the opportunity of reconsidering his position 

Luis xm. which was then offered him. Holland and Carleton 

and the 

Huguenots, had left no stone unturned to bring about a paci- 
fication. The stumbling-block was Fort Louis. The French 
minister frankly averred that, unless the King kept up a 
garrison in it, he could have no security that when he was 
engaged in war abroad the Rochellese would not rise in insur- 

1 Heylin, Life of Laud, 144. After Charles's death, this was pointed 
to as a presage of the innocence of martyrdom, as was also the text taken 
by the preacher, " I will give thee a crown of life." 


rection, as they had done the year before. With equal energy 
the Huguenot deputies argued that unless the fort were de- 
molished, they could have no security for the freedom- of their 
commerce. On the evening of January 25 it was believed on 
both sides that the negotiation was at an end. 

The next morning a chosen number of the French clergy 

were to have an audience, to declare to the King their readiness 

)an 16. to open their purses in support of the holy war which 

An agree- tney h ac j d O ne their best to render imminent. They 

ment come . . , _, . . 

to- had, however, reckoned without the Cardinal Seizing 

a pretext for deferring the audience for a time, he had proposed 
a compromise through the English ambassadors. When at 
last the deputation swept into the Royal presence they found 
that they were too late. The Huguenot deputies were already 
on their knees before the King, and the baffled priests came 
only to witness the reconciliation of their Sovereign with his 
Protestant subjects. 

Unhappily the terms of reconciliation announced on the 
following day by the Chancellor, were such as by no means to 
Terms of the preclude the probability of a renewal of the strife 
agreement, at no distant future. Under pressure from Holland 
and Carleton, the deputies agreed to give up all the points at 
issue, including the demolition of Fort Louis. In return they 
were to have from the King an assurance that ' by long services 
and continued obedience they might expect that which they 
most desired,' and that ' in fitting time he would listen to their 
supplications made with due respect and humility.' 1 Before 
the words were spoken a private exposition of their meaning 
was given by the French ministers, to the effect that they pointed 
to the eventual demolition of Fort Louis. 2 

Holland and Carleton had certainly taxed their authority 

1 Answer of the Chancellor in the name of the King of France, *?"' '/' 

reb. 6, 
S. P. France. This date, however, must be merely that on which a written 

copy of the speech was delivered. It was spoken on -|r-g . 

2 Declaration by Holland and Carleton, fe^' ^, S. P. France. 

E 2 


as mediators to the utmost. The deputies plainly told them 
jan 2 *kat ^ e y ^d agreed to the treaty 'because they 
accepted by might now lawfully accept assistance from his 
nots through Majesty.' When the ambassadors attended the 
of P Eng a iish ns Protestant church at Charenton on the following 
support. Sunday, they found themselves the objects of uni- 
versal enthusiasm. The preacher cook for his text, " How 
beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace." 
It was all very natural, but it was very dangerous. To thrust 
foreign mediation in the face of Louis was the very way to 
disgust him with the arrangement which had been made, and 
if Charles had been wise he would have kept his part in the 
treaty in the background. If the French Government were 
once engaged in earnest in the conflict with Spain, any renewal 
of persecution would be virtually impossible. 

In such a course Charles would have had every assistance 
from Richelieu. The treaty was signed on the 28th, and the 
Richelieu Cardinal at once assured the ambassadors that the 
take y upthe English ships would be speedily restored, and that 
conflict hj s master would practically, if not in name, join 

against . J 

Spain. England in the war in Germany. On the 2pth 

Holland and Carleton reported that the French ministers dealt 
with them more freely than they expected, ' for they have not 
denied those of the Religion any of their demands, so as all 
parties are satisfied.' l 

On February 5 the ambassadors were able to write of offers 
still more definite. Richelieu had assured them that his master, 

besides carrying on the war in Italy, was ready to 
offers'made create a diversion in favour of the King of Denmark 

by sending into Germany an army nominally com- 
manded by some German prince, but in reality supported 
jointly by France and England. In addition he would give 
the aid already promised to the King of Denmark. An army 
maintained in this manner would not cost Charles a third of 

1 Holland and Carleton to Conway, Jan. 27, 29 ; Declaration by 

Holland and Carleton, a "' 3T ; The state of Holland and Carletou's nego- 
Feb. 10 

tiations Aug. (?), S. P. France. 


the expense of the force which he had proposed to send against 
Dunkirk, whilst it would be of far greater advantage to the 
common cause. 1 

Whether Charles, after his numerous failures, would have 
been able to persuade the House of Commons to grant the 
supply necessary for this or for any other enterprise, 
Satisfactory may well be doubted ; but it ,was at least in his power 
prospect. to meet parliament with the proposal of a definite joint 
action with France, which was the very object at which he had 
been so long driving. In a few days the English ships would 
have returned and the establishment of peace in France would 
have justified the policy upon which their loan had originally 
depended, whilst it might be taken for granted that when once 
England and France were actively co-operating in Germany, 
there would be no disposition on the part of the French 
Government to return to that system of annoyance of which the 
Huguenots had previously complained, nor even to scrutinise 
very closely Charles's failure to observe the provisions of his 
marriage contract. 

Such, however, was not the view which Charles took of the 

situation. On February 6, when the first news of the agree- 

Feb. 6. ment had reached England, Conway was directed to 

pissatibfac- wr jte ironically to the ambassadors that his Majesty 

tion or * J J 

Charles. wa s confident that there must be in the treaty ' some 
excellent good warrants and reservations provided that are not 
expressed.' 2 The next day Charles had an opportunity ot 
Feb. 7 . reading the treaty itself. " It seems," wrote Conway 
^ains'o'fthe a g ain > " something strange that your Lordships had 
agreement, concluded the peace with so little surety for those of 
the Religion, for aught appeared here ; but his Majesty is per- 
suaded if your Lordships have, as it seems, placed the con- 
fidence of all those of the Religion and those of Rochelle upon 
him for the maintaining of their surety, that you have some 
very good grounds that such underhand promises as may have 
been made, which appear not, shall be kept ; or that, now that 
the King is satisfied in point of honour, of his goodness he will 

1 Holland and Carleton to Conway, Feb. 5, S. P. France. 

2 Conway to Holland and Carleton, Feb. 6, ibid. 


presently withdraw all his forces from Rochelle, and will appoint 
a certain time when he will demolish the fort. 

" His Majesty's pleasure is that you protest to that King 
and his ministers that, under the hope and confidence of the 
Theambas- rea l an d present performance of those things, you 
de d mlr,da had employed your mediation, and had engaged the 
recognition authority of his Majesty to move and almost con- 

of Charles s J J J 

mediation, strain the deputies to accept the peace upon these 

" And further, you are, by the advice of the deputies, to 
move for such conditions as may be for their surety, and so to 
carry that business betwixt that king and those of the Religion 
that, if his Majesty's honour must be pledged for the due 
observation of the treaty, his Majesty may be called and 
admitted to that office by that king and those of the Religion ; 
and that there may be some ground and possibility for such a 
surety to be in the power and possession of those of the 
Religion and those of Rochelle, in the strength of which they 
may subsist until such time as they may make their grievances 
known to his Majesty, and for him to apply his mediation and 
set his endeavours on work. But in these things his Majesty 
can give you no exact limits, but must leave you to that restraint 
or latitude your Lordships' own wisdom will take in your own 
negotiation. But it is his Majesty's precise commandment that 
you demand the present restitution of his Majesty's ship, and 
of the merchants' ships ; and that in that point you admit no 
delay, but take a delay as a denial." 

Charles, in short, blind to the fact that the force of circum- 
stances under Richelieu's guidance was working for him, would 
Charles's be content with nothing less than an open acknow- 
mistake, ledgment of his position as mediator between Louis 
and his subjects. A few more despatches such as that which 
had just been sent, would make even Richelieu powerless to 
preserve peace between France and England. 

On the nth the news of the French offer of co-operation 
in Germany had reached England. Sir John Coke was directed 
to answer as follows : 

" Concerning the raising of a new English-French army, 


which strange overture you have kept afoot by undertaking to 

Feb. ii. procure an answer from hence, that this may not 

Charles serve them for any pretence to colour their with- 

treating th drawing of contribution from the King of Denmark 

French co- and Mansfeld, you are to lay before them his Majesty's 

wthcooi- great charges both by sea and land, and the impossi- 


bility of levying more armies, of that kind ; and further 
directly to profess that if that king perform not what he hath 
promised for the support of those forces, his Majesty in like 
manner will presently hold his hand and employ all his means 
for the strengthening of his fleet, which he well knoweth to be 
the best support of his own honour and state, all the rest having 
a. principal relation to his allies. And, since the diversion in 
Germany concerneth chiefly the security of France, against 
which the Imperial forces were evidently designed, if the King 
of Denmark had sat still ; you are to make them sensible of 
this interest and of his Majesty's resolution to bear that burthen 
no longer, if that king shall cast it off, or not contribute at least 
in an equal proportion." l 

On such terms a working alliance was impossible. A foreign 
Government was to find now, as domestic parties were to find 
An alliance afterwards, that it was not enough to give way to 
on P these' le Charles in some things, unless it was prepared to 
conditions. gj ve wav t o him in all. What he asked was that 
a high-spirited and sensitive nation should first submit its 
domestic affairs to his arbitration, and should then enter upon 
a war precisely in such a manner and on such conditions as it 
pleased him to prescribe. 

If knowledge of character be worth anything, it is to Charles 
rather than to Buckingham that these unsatisfactory despatches 
are to be ascribed. Charles, too, had annoyances at home which 
may well have served to put him in a bad temper during the 
days in which they were dictated. His dissatisfaction with his 
wife had reached a crisis. Parliament was opened on Feb- 
ruary 6, and arrangements had been made for the Queen to 
witness the procession from one of the windows of the banquet- 
ing hall at Whitehall. Charles, however, always anxious to 
1 Coke to Holland and Carleton, Feb. n, S. P France. 


separate her from her French attendants, and to bring her as 

Feb. 6. much as possible in communication with the ladies of 

Itu^p'ro" the Villiers family, expressed a wish that she should 

cession of the t a k e a sea t j n a balcony occupied by the old Countess 

opening of J 

Parliament, of Buckingham. The Queen assented, but when the 

time came she either saw or fancied she saw that it was raining, 

and asked to be excused from going out into the street in the 

wet. Charles, on the other hand, insisted that it 

Altercation ... \ r i i i 

with her did not ram, but finding that his words produced 
usband. nQ j m p ress j on) withdrew from the altercation. Dis- 
satisfied at his rebuff, so at least the French accounts of the 
affair assert, he betook himself to Buckingham. " How can 
you expect," said the favourite, " to be obeyed by your Parlia- 
ment if you cannot secure the obedience of yourwife?" Charles, 
conscious perhaps of his own inability to impress the Queen with 
sufficient awe of his commands, sent Buckingham to try his 
powers upon her. Buckingham rated her soundly for her dis- 
obedience, and as Blainville, who had perhaps objected origin- 
ally to her showing herself in Lady Buckingham's company, now 
advised submission, she took Buckingham's hand, and was led 
across the street to the house from which his mother was to 
view the procession. 

Even this act of submission caused fresh umbrage to Charles. 
The Queen, it would seem, would not obey him, but would 
obey the French ambassador. With some reminiscence, per- 
haps, of the ' Taming of the Shrew,' he sent orders to her to 
come down from the window at which she was now seated, and 
with these orders Henrietta Maria meekly complied. 

For three days Charles kept entirely aloof from his wife, 
\taiting sulkily till she should come to beg his pardon. At last, 

weary of his silence, she sought him out and asked 
between 8 in what she had offended him. He expected her, 

he answered, to acknowledge her error. She was 
unable, she said, to accuse herself of anything wrong. Would he 

not tell her what her fault had been ? The question 

Feb. 10. 

A reconciiia. seemed to take him by surprise. After some hesi- 
tation he answered : " You told me that it rained 
when I said that it did not rain." " I should never have 


thought that to be an offence," she replied ; " but if you think 
so, I will think so too." Pleased with such evidence of humility, 
Charles took his wife in his arms, and kissed her. 1 

The quarrel was over for the time. The Queen had perhaps 
begun to open her eyes to the truth that with such a character 
as Charles's the outward appearance of complete and unreason- 
ing obedience is the surest way to mastery in the end. 

Unhappily this misunderstanding between man and wife 
became another element in the misunderstanding between two 
kingdoms. On the day after the offence was given, the courier 
Feb who carried the despatch expressive of Charles's 
Charles dissatisfaction with the Huguenot treaty, took with 
anow e Biain- him a letter from Charles to Louis himself, asking 
appear at ^ or Blainville's recall, on the ground that he had 
Court done everything in his power to bring about a mis- 

understanding between himself and the Queen. At the same 
time he directed Conway to inform the ambassador that he 
would no longer be permitted to appear at Court. 2 

Such were the conditions under which Charles met his 
second Parliament. A great French minister, amidst unex- 
Circum- ampled difficulties, had steered the vessel of state on 
under which to tne trac k along which it was hereafter to be borne 
nieeti e par- to vlctor y on behmlf of a noble cause. In spite of 
liament. the hesitations of Louis and of the opposition of the 
clergy and of a large portion of the aristocracy, Richelieu had 
firmly planted the banner of monarchical France on the basis 

' M^moirea de Tillteres. It seems so unlikely that Charles should have 
quarrelled with Blainville on this point, that it is as well to give the words 
of the English narrative : " In the meantime a difference that fell out 
about the place for the Queen to see the King ride to Parliament (she 
affecting to stand in the Banqueting House, or in the Privy Gallery, when 
the King had given reasons for her better sight in the house of the Countess, 
mother to the Duke of Buckingham, next the gate in King Street), was a 
subject for some. discontent, and so far as the Ambassador Blainville, seem- 
ing to his Majesty to have been the causer ol it, had the next day a message 
brought him by the Lord Conway." Affair of Blainville, undated, S. P. 

2 Message sent to Blainville, Feb. 7. The King to Louis XIII., Feb. 7, 
S. P. France. 


of toleration. He had gained his point by unwearied patience, 
by yielding in details whilst never losing sight of his main 
object, by the appearance of being but the servant of his king, 
whilst in reality he was bending the king and France itself to 
his own ends. One thing he yet wanted, that the ruler whom 
fortune had placed upon the English throne should be capable 
of understanding his meaning. As long as Charles was King 
of England no such good fortune was likely to be his. 




FEW and unimportant were the words which Charles addressed 
to the Houses at the opening of the session. " I mean to 
Feb e show," he said, in excuse for this brevity, " what I 
Opening of should speak in actions." Nor did the new Lord 
Keeper, who followed, add much to the knowledge 
of his hearers. He had nothing to say about the pressing 
wants of the Exchequer, nothing about the position which the 
King had taken up on the Continent ; and, but for a passing 
allusion, no one would have gathered from Coventry's language 
that England was at war with Spain, still less that she had 
entered upon a serious diplomatic contest with France. 

And yet money was sorely needed. The Privy seals were 
coming in slowly, and eight weeks later they had produced less 
Want of than zS,oooL l The hopes which had been placed 
money. upon Buckingham's attempt to raise money in the 
Netherlands had proved still more fallacious. The Amsterdam 
merchants had refused to take the Crown jewels in pledge, un- 
less they could also have security for their redemption within a 
limited period. 2 

When, on February 10, Rudyerd, the usual mouthpiece of 
the Government, rose to speak, he had still nothing to say 
F t about supply. He commended the King's zeal for 
religion as evinced by his late proceedings against 
the Catholics, and moved for a committee to consider 
how to increase the livings of the poorer clergy, and how to 

1 Breviates of the receipts of the Exchequer. 

* D, Carleton to Conway, Jan. 22, S. P. Holland. 


deal with ministers who were leading immoral lives. The 
motion was adopted with an amendment by Pym that the 
committee should be empowered to consider all matters re- 
lating to religion. Charles evidently intended to stand upon 
his Protestantism. If he no longer protected the Roman 
Catholics, if he was ready to carry out practical reforms in the 
English Church, and if he was in close alliance with the States, 
n r hy should not the Commons vote him large supplies to carry 
out so popular a policy. 

Why should they not ? Phelips was not there, to say him 
nay ; nor Coke, nor Seymour, nor even Wentworth ; and Sir 
Supply John Coke could therefore rise hopefully to hint some- 
suggested, thing about a grant of supply. 1 There was, however, 
one there who had been overlooked when the sheriffs had been 
Eliot's posi- pricked, and from whom no opposition was expected, 
las" p"artia- Dut w h h a d something to say before a motion for 
supply was carried. Eliot's last publicly spoken words 
at Oxford had been in defence of Buckingham's personal in- 
tegrity. 2 The refusal of the favourite to submit his actions to 
the judgment of independent councillors, and the contempt 
shown for the House of Commons by the hasty dissolution, had 
since thrown him entirely on the side of the Opposition. 

Still Eliot was in no hurry to act. With a man of his warm 
and affectionate disposition the old personal ties which had 

bound him to Buckingham must still have counted for 
1625. . 

He watches much. In the interval between the two Parliaments 


he had been anxiously watching the course of events. 
As Vice-Admiral of Devon he had special opportunities for 
noting the miserable results of a policy which his head and his 
heart alike condemned. He had been present at the sailing 

1 Mr. Forster (Sir jf. Eliot, i. 284) says "The new secretary there- 
upon reminding the House of his Majesty's hint as to time, and that un- 
reasonable slowness might produce as ill effect as denial, Eliot promptly 
rose." This is, I suppose, from the Port Eliot Notes, and must have re- 
ferred to supply. 

- The surprise at Eliot's turning against Buckingham in this Parlia- 
ment, noticed by the Venetian Ambassador, as quoted by Ranke, Engl. 
Gesch. ii. 103, is one more piece of evidence that he never uttered the 
speech attributed to him in the Negotium Posterorum. 


of the fleet, and when it sought refuge in Plymouth Sound from 
its unlucky voyage, he had been witness of the miseries to which 
those on board were doomed by a Government which had 
launched them into the midst of the hazards of war without 
sufficient means to provide for their daily wants. He knew 
well how the poor wretches, torn from their homes a few short 
months before, were wandering about the streets of Plymouth 
without food or money ; how they were denied shelter by the 
inhabitants ; and how, with nothing but their shirts on their 
backs to ward off the wintry cold, they were dropping down 
dead in the long December nights. 1 

Yet, whatever Eliot's thoughts may have been, there was no 
open breach between him and the men in authority at Court. 
Does not At the end of December he appealed to Conway for 
the a Govern- th 6 reduction of an exorbitant demand made upon 
ment. hj s father-in-law by a Privy seal, and the wrong was 

immediately redressed by a special resolution of the Council. 2 
A little later he wrote to request Pembroke, the Lord Lieu- 
tenant of Cornwall, for a deputy-lieutenancy which was reported 
to be vacant, and his request would have been immediately 
granted but for the discovery that there had been no foundation 
for the report. 3 

Plainly, therefore, there was no expectation of any opposition 

from Eliot ; and it is possible that if Charles had met Par- 

j626 _ liament in a different spirit if he had made the 

Feb. 10. slightest acknowledgment of error, and had courted 

ncwVariia 6 - inquiry instead of merely asking for money Eliot's 

first words in the new House might have been other 

than they were. As it was, his whole soul was moved by that 

which was passing before his eyes. To the high-hearted, 

patriotic man it was bad enough that the failures of the past 

should bring no warnings for the future ; but it was still worse that 

1 The Commissioners of Plymouth to the Council, Jan. 4, S. P. Dom. 
xviii. 7. 

; Council Register, Jan. 5. Eliot's letter to Conway, Dec. 31, S. P. 
Dom. xii. 95, is printed by Mr. Forster, Sir J Eliot, i. 272. 

3 Eliot to his agent in London, Jan. 16, S. P. Dom. xviii. 68. Bc.g:j 
to , March (?), Notes and Queries, 4th ser., x. 325. 


religion should be made the stalking-horse for political objects, 
and that Parliament should be asked to legislate for the Church 
as an inducement towards a grant of money. 

When Eliot stood up, therefore, it was to ask that inquiry 
into past disasters should precede present supply. The ac- 
counts of the expenditure of the subsidies voted in 

Eliot de- 

m.nds in- 1624 must be laid fully before the House. Then, 
the'cadii' rising with the occasion, and feeling that this would 
not be enough, " Sir," he cried, " I beseech you cast 
your eyes about ! View the state we are in ! Consider the 
loss we have received ! Weigh the wrecked and ruined honour 
of our nation ! O the incomparable hopes of our most excel- 
lent sovereign checked in their first design ! Search the pre- 
paration. Examine the going forth. Let your wisdoms travel 
through the whole action, to discern the fault, to know the 
faulty. For I presume to say, though no man undertook it, 
you would find the ancient genius of this kingdom rise up to 
be the accuser. Is the reputation and glory of our nation of a 
small value ? Are the walls and bulwarks of our kingdom of 
no esteem ? Are the numberless lives of our lost men not to 
be regarded? I know it cannot so harbour in an English 
thought. Our honour is ruined, our ships are sunk, our men 
perished ; not by the sword, not by the enemy, not by chance, 
but, as the strongest predictions had discerned and made it 
apparent beforehand, by those we trust. Sir, I could lose my- 
self in this complaint, the miseries, the calamities which our 
Western parts have both seen, and still feel, strike so strong an 
apprehension on me." 

At this point, remembering doubtless that the special cir- 
cumstances which gave a right of inquiring into the expendi- 
ture of the subsidies of 1624 did not convey a right 

and into ..... .... , 

earlier of inquiry into the expenditure of any other money, 
Eliot paused for a moment, making, with the skill of 
a consummate orator, the half-retractation which he was about 
to utter an excuse for striking a yet harder blow. " Perchance, 
sir," he proceeded, "it will be said that this concerns us not 
that our money was long since spent in other actions. To 
prevent such objection I will make this answer, that I know 


nothing so preposterous ' or good in those former actions that 
may extenuate, much less excuse, the faults of this. Upon 
both particulars, therefore, I will contract my motion ; this of 
the war account, and that of the King's estate." 

These questions in short, inquiry into the past and 
provision for the future should be discussed in special com- 
mittees. Till this had been done, nothing should be said 
about the King's supply. The common cause must have the 
precedence. 2 

In spite, therefore, of the relegation of the leaders of the 
Opposition to their respective shires, a voice had been raised to 
Weight of resume the work which they had left unfinished. In- 
the speech. s tinctively Eliot had taken up ground which was 
unassailable. There was no personal attack upon Buckingham. 
The Lord Admiral's name had not even been mentioned. But 
there had been a plain assertion of the right of the Commons 
to ascertain by every means in their power whether the money 
for which they were asked would be used for the benefit of the 
country. No doubt such an inquiry contained within itself the 
germs of a mighty revolution. The Commons had certainly 
not been accustomed thus to pry into the secret actions of 
Henry VIII. or Elizabeth ; but, even if they were as yet hardly 
fitted to occupy the place of sovereignty, it was not their fault 
that circumstances had changed, or that there was good reason 
for withdrawing from Charles I. the confidence which their 
fathers had reposed in his predecessors. 

It is possible that Eliot may have been irritated to some 
extent by the sermon preached by Laud at the opening of the 
session. "Jerusalem," the Bishop of St. Davids had 
Land's told his hearers, " is builded as a city that is com- 
pact together." By unity alone could Church or 
State resist its foes. For the State the centre of unity was in 
the King. It was his to do judgment and justice, to appoint 
magistrates and to protect the oppressed. It was the part of 
the nation to surround him with loving reverence. " And never 
fear him," he said of Charles, "for God is with him. He will 
not depart from God's service ; nor from the honourable care 
1 i.e. 'so preferable or excellent.' 2 Forster, Sir jf. Eliot, i. 285. 


of his people ; nor from } wise managing of his treasure ; he 
will never undermine his own house, nor give his people just 
cause to be jealous of a shaking foundation." 2 

Those who have been engaged in tracing out Charles's errors 

and failures will find it hard to understand how such words 

could be applied to him by any sane man. The 

Lauds l 

devotion to difficulty, however, is not a great one. Laud was 
an ecclesiastic, not a statesman. He saw Charles's 
conscious wish to do right, and he took it for granted that his 
conduct was as prudent as his intentions were upright. Having 
every reason to doubt the fairness of the House of Commons 
towards the clergy of his own opinions, he thought that they weie 
equally unfair in their opposition concerning political matters. 

Laud had been grieved at the resolution which the King 
had taken to withdraw his objection to the examination of 
Montague's opinions by the Commons, on the ground that he 
was one of the Royal chaplains. On January 16 four bishops, 
amongst whom were Andrewes and Laud, who had been asked 
to investigate the question, had reported that Montague's book 
was agreeable to the doctrine of the Church of England, and 
had recommended Charles to prohibit all further controversy on 
the disputed points. 3 On the nth and iyth of the 
The con- ' following month a conference was held at Bucking- 
Montague's ham's house, in which Dr. Preston and Bishop Morton 
did their best to impugn the doctrines propounded in 
the incriminated books. Preston was a noted Puritan divine 
who had secured Buckingham's good-will, and had, in 1622, 
become Master of Emmanuel College in the University of 
Cambridge through his patron's influence. Buckingham had, 
however, for some time been pursuing courses which could 
not be agreeable to Preston, who had spoken with dislike of his 
advocacy of the French marriage, and of the concessions made 
in consequence to the Catholics. Preston now discovered that 
Buckingham repented of having offered his house for the 
purpose of the conference, and drew the inference that he had 

1 " for," as printed, but surely it should be " from." 
* Sermon III., Land's Works, i. 63. 

3 Neile, Andrewes, &c. to Buckingham, Jan. 16, Harl. MSS. 7000, 
fol. 193- 


placed himself in the hands of the Bishops, and was indifferent 
or hostile to the triumph of Gospel truth. l 

As far as it is possible to judge from the accounts which 
have reached us, the assailants failed to make their points 
good, as in insisting on a complete accordance with the formulas 
of the Church, they, in many cases, substituted their own inter 
pretation for the obvious meaning of the formulas themselves, 
Yet, in spite of his controversial success, Montague was left ta 
the judgment of Parliament. As might have been expected, 
the House of Commons pronounced strongly against him ; but 
the session was brought to an untimely end before the opinion 
of the Lords could be taken, and he therefore escaped punish- 
ment for a time. 

These Church questions would before long attract universal 
attention. At present the management of the war and the re- 
lations between England and the Continental powers were of 
nore immediate interest. The four sub-committees of the 
Committee for Grievances were hard at work, and the one over 
The 'St. which Eliot presided was busily occupied in investi- 

H e avreie g atin g the case of the ' St - p< ? ter ' of Havre de Grace, 
Grace. an( j j n inquiring incidentally why England was on 
the verge of a war with France without any apparent reason. 

The real history of the estrangement between the two Courts 
was known to but very few. Probably no one except Bucking- 
ham and one or two of his confidants had ever heard of the 
despatches by which Charles had met with icy coldness the 
overtures of Richelieu, or were acquainted with the course of 
Feb. 8. the dispute about the French prizes ; but the re- 
Consterna- seizure of the ' St. Peter ' was a fact patent to all. 

tion of the . 

English The merchants trading with France were in terror 

ITtTtsre" lest reprisals should be made on the other side of 

the Channel, and the Lord Admiral and the Privy 

Council were besieged with petitions for the release of the ship. 2 

1 Ball's Life of Preston in Clarke's General Martyrology. ' The sum 
and substance of the Conference.* Cosirt's Works, ii. 17. Buckingham 
presided, and certainly showed great shrewdness and ability. 

2 Petition of the merchants, Feb. 8, S. P. DOHI. xx. 51. Act of 
Council, Feb. 12, Council Register. 



When '. the ship had been seized, war with France had been 
imminent. As it was now known in England that the French 
civil war was at an end, and that the English vessels might s,oon 
be on their way home, Buckingham had no longer any interest 
in detaining the prize. He sent for Marten, and asked what 
Feb he ought to do. Marten answered cautiously that 
Marten the ship might be detained if there was fresh evidence 
s con c against her, but that until he had seen the informa- 
tion on which Buckingham relied, he could not say whether it 
was sufficient or not. On the i5th the merchants' petitions 
were considered in the Council, and an order was given that, if 
the owners .would enter into bonds to abide by the decision of 
the Court of Admiralty, the ship should be at once released. ' 
Soon after this it was discovered that the evi- 

Pelea^e of 

the ' St. dence alleged by Apsley was absolutely worthless, 
and , all further proceedings were tacitly withdrawn. 
This step, however, was taken too late. Even before the news 
of the re-seizure of the ' St. Peter ' had reached France, the 
owners of the prize goods which had been sold, being convinced 
that they had nothing to hope from English justice, had peti- 
tioned to their- own courts for redress. On the 7th the Judge 
Feb of the Admiralty at Paris gave permission to all who 
Reprisals in had been wronged to seek redress by the seizure of 
English property in France, and on the loth a similar 
order was issued by the Parliament of Rouen. 2 
Through this thicket of confusion, Eliot and his committee 
did their best to cut their way. Was it strange if they did not 
Eiiot ; s com succeed in discovering the truth ? It was clear that 
^"the" there was something behind of which they knew 
seizure t nothing. 'The second detention of the 'St. Peter' 

have been . , . . 

made for required an explanation which had not been vouch- 

ham's'private safed to them* How Eliot would have branded with 

scorn the blunder of selling the prize goods if only he 

had become aware. o( the importance which it had in the eyes 

.' Act qf Council, Feb. 15, Council Register. 

2 List of proceedings about the ships, undated ; Sentence of the Par- 
liament of Rouen, Feb. , S. f. France. In the. subsequent correspond- 
ence the seizure of the 'St. Peter ' is scarcely mentioned as complained of 
by the French. The sale of the prize goods is the sore point. 


of the French, we can readily imagine ; but the seizure of the 
' St Peter ' was all that met his eye, and being in ignorance of 
the fact that England had been at the time on the brink of a 
war with France, he had to account for the mystery as best he 
might What wonder if he fancied that the Duke had done it 
all for his own advantage ? He knew that some of Buckingham's 
officers had had charge of valuable articles which had been on 
board the 'St. Peter,' and that those articles had not been 
restored. The inference seemed obvious that they had gone to 
swell the Duke's private fortune, and that, for the sake of his 
own personal enrichment, he was embroiling the kingdom in an 
uncalled-for war. 

Yet this was far from the truth. It was indeed an un- 
equal contest upon which Eliot had entered. So unwise 
was the alienation of that State which was ready to become 
the ally of England, that so true a patriot could not but seek 
to probe the mystery to the bottom. The mystery could 
not be so probed. Charles and Buckingham had veiled their 
actions in secrecy as with a cloud. What Eliot learned had to 
be dragged from unwilling witnesses, themselves knowing but 
little, and anxious to tell as small a portion of that little as they 
March 6 cou ^. When, therefore, Attorney- General Heath 
Heath's appeared before the House to defend his patron, he 
had an easy task before him. He was able to assert 
that the ship had been seized by the King's directions, and 
from public motives. It is ' not now,' he said, ' a particular or 
personal cause, but a national controversy.' It is true that he 
was not instructed to state what the grounds of that national 
controversy were ; but he was able to add, with perfect truth, 
that the seizure of the ' St. Peter ' had nothing whatever 
to do with the embargo at Rouen. Heath's argument was 
successful with the Commons. By a small majority in a not 
very full House, they voted that the stay of the ' St. Peter ' was 
not a grievance. 1 

Charles determined to strike while the iron was hot. On 
the very day on which Heath was pleading before the Commons, 

1 Commons' Journals, i. 831. 


the Lords were asked to take into consideration the state of 
the realm. Already in a quiet way the Peers had given signs 
that they had no intention of being Buckingham's humble 
servants. Finding that the Duke held no less than thirteen 
Feb 2 proxies, the independent Lords, after a debate in 
Order about which almost every official member spoke on the 
the House of other side, 1 carried an order that for the future no 
peer should hold more than two proxies. Restlessness 
under Buckingham's supremacy did not, however, as yet imply 
readiness to reject a proposal brought to them with the authority 
of the Crown, and the House at once appointed a committee to 
take into consideration the question propounded on the King's 
behalf. The next morning the committee reported 
The Peers that it was advisable to set forth one fleet against 
Ma n tetf r the e Spain, and another for the defence of the English 
realm. coast, and to maintain the armies of Mansfeld and 

the King of Denmark. 2 

With this suggestion the Commons were at once asked to 
comply. At the conference Buckingham prudently kept him- 
self in the background, and Pembroke and Abbot were put 
forward to induce the Lower House to assent to the demands 
of the Government. After detailing the necessities of the fleet 
and of the Danish army, Pembroke held out hopes that a 
virtual alliance would be brought about with France. 3 

In the evening an attempt was made to carry the opinion of 
the Commons by storm. A hopeful despatch had been received 
News from fr om tne ambassadors at Paris. Edward Clarke, the 
France. confidential servant of the Duke, who, when Charles 
left Madrid, had been entrusted with the secret orders to Bristol 
for the postponement of the marriage ceremony, and who, in 
1625, had been imprisoned by the Commons for the strong 
language which he had used in defence of his patron, 4 went 
about the streets spreading the news that all difficulties had been 

1 Ehing V Notes, 1624-1626, 113, 

* Lords' Journals, in. 517, 519. 

Speeches of Abbot and Pembroke, HcH. MSS. 4888, fol. 262. 
See Vol. V., pp. 118, 415. 


removed, and that there was no longer any danger of a dispute 
with the King of France. 1 

It was not Richelieu's fault that a good understanding had 

not long ago been effected. Though the news of Blainville's 

exclusion from Court had been very unwelcome to 

reb. 21. _ * 

Negotiations Louis, no hard language had been used, and Charles's 
objections to the French scheme of a joint army 
having been taken into consideration, a fresh offer was made 
that the King of France should confine himself to operations 
in Italy, whilst aiding Charles with money to carry on the war 
in Germany. On the commercial difficulty the French Govern- 
ment was equally conciliatory. Let the vessels seized 
on both sides, they said, be mutually restored, and 
then let there be some friendly arrangement to prevent disputes 
for the future. 2 

Charles's wisest course would undoubtedly have been to 

accept the offer. Unfortunately he was punctilious and keen 

March 3. to mark offences in others. The sense of injury 

C unctii1ous caus d in France by the sale of the prize goods he 

about the djcl not understand : and much less did it enter into 


reprisals. his head that the strictness of the English law of prize 
might not commend itself to a neutral Government ; but he 
discovered that, in the commercial treaty agreed on by Louis 
and his father, it was stated that embargoes were not to be laid 
on either side without previous notice, and he therefore de- 
manded that France, by taking the first step in the restoration 
of vessels seized, should acknowledge herself to have been in 

the wrong. Even this was conceded to him, as Louis 
overtures^ himself assured the ambassadors. "I will rely," he 

said, " upon your promise, and in confidence thereof 
will ordain a present release ; but if in England what you under- 
take be not faithfully executed, and that such as ... may be 
present at the definitive sentence advertise me that my subjects' 
goods are detained from them, the King my brother must not 

1 Blainville to Louis XIII., March ^, King's MSS. 138, p. 1316. 
* Holland and Carleton to Coke, Feb. 21 ; Holland and Carleton to 
Coke, Feb. 26, S. P. France. 


take it ill if I do the like." This offer Louis followed up by send- 
March 4 . ing immediate directions to the Admiral at Rochelle, 
directing him to send home to England the English ships under 
his charge, and by promising that the order for removing the 
embargo should be issued the next morning. 1 

Such was the news which Clarke was spreading about the 
streets of London on the evening of March 7. Charles, how- 
ever, was in a temper which tried the friendliness of the French 
Government to the utmost. In his anxiety to prove his Pro- 
testantism, he had inflicted a fresh blow upon Blainville which 
was not likely to make his relations easier with the ambassador's 
master. Blainville's lodgings were in Durham House, one of 
the mansions which in those days stood between the Strand 
and the river. It was the house where Raleigh had lived in 
the days of his splendour, and which was so extensive that the 
Bishop of Durham contented himself with occupying a small 
portion. A large part was given over to the French 
embassy. Blainville had his private chapel, and the 
mass, when celebrated there, was attended by throngs 
of the Catholics of London. To this abuse, as he considered 
interference '* to ^ e ' Charles was determined to put an end. He 
with the at- gave orders to the Council to see that it was no longer 

tendance of 

English tolerated, and on the morning of Sunday, February 26, 
a strong body of constables was posted at the gates, 
after mass had begun, with directions to seize all English sub- 
jects as they came out. 

When the capture began it was impossible for the French 
gentlemen of the ambassador's suite to restrain their im- 
patience. Charging upon the constables sword in 
which hand, they rushed to the succour of their English 

friends. In the scuffle which ensued two men were 
injured, and one was dragged into the courtyard and borne in 
triumph before the window at which the ambassador was stand- 
ing. By this time the noise of the tumult had attracted atten- 
tion outside, and the population of the neighbourhood hurried 
up to take part in the fray. Fortunately the Bishop of Durham 

1 Holland and Carleton to Conway, March 3, 5, S. P. France. 


arrived in time to part the combatants before further mischief 
was done. 

Blainville of course was furious. " I wish," he said to the 
Bishop, as soon as he caught sight of him, " that my" followers 
Biainviiie's had killed the officers. The King my master will 
anger. require reason for that which has been done against 

the law of nations." 1 

As a matter of law, Charles was plainly within his rights. 
His prudence in raising so irritating a question was not so 
certain. In the beginning of March, the very days in which 
matters were taking a favourable turn at Paris, he contrived, 
probably unconsciously, again to give offence to the French 
Court. He had long regarded Arundel with suspicion. In 
the last Parliament the Earl had been suspected of taking part 
in the opposition against Buckingham, and, like Williams and 
Wentworth, he had no sympathy with the warlike ardour of 
the King and his chief adviser. At the opening of 
Arundei's the new Parliament, alone amongst the Privy Coun- 
lon ' cillors he had sided with the independent Peers in 
the affair of the proxies, and it was not long before Charles 
found him interfering with his wishes on a more personal 

Arundei's eldest son, Lord Maltravers, had fallen in love 
with Elizabeth Stuart, sister of the young Duke of Lennox, and 
niece of the Lord Steward of James I. His affection was 
warmly reciprocated. Charles had other views, and claimed, as 
head of the lady's house, to dispose of her hand as he pleased. 
The Earl of Argyle, a professed Roman Catholic, had long 
been an exile from his native country, and had spent many 
years of his life in the military service of the King of Spain. 
His son and heir, Lord Lome, who was one day to be Charles's 
bitterest enemy as the Covenanting Marquis of Argyle, was not 
inclined to follow in his father's steps ; and Charles hoped 
that by marrying him into a family so closely connected with 
the Court as that of Lennox, he might acquire an influence 
over his future life. Whilst Charles was scheming, the lovers 

1 A true relation, &c., S. P. Dom. xxi. 6 1 


were acting. Lady Arundel favoured her son's pretensions, and 
His son's sne was n t a woman accustomed to be thwarted, 
marriage. ^ clandestine marriage was hurried on, and, when it 
was too late to interfere, Arundel was told by his wife that he 
had better be himself the person to carry the news to the King, 
as he might safely assert that he had known nothing of the 
plot before it was carried into execution. 1 

Charles was at first not inclined to be very hard upon the 
Earl ; but Arundel, or someone amongst his friends, thought 
March 4 . & worth while to enlist the Queen's sympathy on his 
Arundel behalf. Either Charles was jealous of his wife's 
fro.n the interference, or he saw in it some fresh plot of the 
detested Blainville. He at once ordered that Arun- 
del should no longer be admitted to the meetings of the 
Council ; and a fresh application from the Queen was followed 
. by an order for his imprisonment in the Tower, 
Sent to the whilst the ladies who had favoured the marriage 
were detained in various places of confinement. 2 

Charles's continued jealousy of the Queen did not augur 
well for the chances of a better understanding with her brother. 
Charles, not Into the recesses of his councils indeed we have 
ham, trie no means of penetrating ; but the difficulties thrown 
dtffiraw*" m tne wa y f tne French alliance, the personal 
with France. q uarr el with Blainville, the punctilious hesitation 
about the release of the prizes, the demand to be recognised 
as a mediator between Louis and his subjects, all bear un- 
mistakably the impress of Charles's quickness to take offence 
and reluctance to forget a real or fancied injury. Buckingham 
was more likely to snatch at the chance of bringing a French 
army into the field ; and the one glimpse which we have of 
him during these days shows him anxiously desiring permis- 
sion to go as ambassador to France, no doubt to cement that 

1 Meddus to Meade, March 10, Court and Times, i. 86. D'Ewes to 
Stuteville, March, Harl. MSS. 383, fol. 26. 

2 Council Register, March 4, Arundel to Lady Maltravers, March 5, 

Harl. MSS. 1581, fol. 390. Blainville to Louis XIII., March ^ ; Blain- 
ville to the Bishop of Mende, March - 7 , Kings MSS. 138, pp. 1316, 1333. 


'riendly understanding which his master was doing everything 
to thwart. 1 

Whatever the truth may have been, it would have been hard 

to persuade the Commons that Buckingham was not wholly 

March 3. at f au ^- Partly from motives of policy, still more 

inquiry perhaps from traditional loyalty of disposition, the 

directed by .,.. 111 11 

the Com- maxim that the King could do no wrong was deeply 
councifof ' imprinted on their hearts. If they had failed to 
extract the whole truth about the P'rench prizes, they 
hoped to be more successful in extracting from the council of 
war the advice which its members had given about the disposal 
of the subsidies voted in 1624, wishing probably to know 
whether Mansfeld's disastrous expedition had received the 
approbation of competent military authorities. 2 

The House was, however, destined to disappointment. 
Heath, having been consulted by the King, gave it as his 
Heath's opinion that though, under the unusual provisions of 
opinion. j^g Act j n question, the Commons would be justified 
in asking whether the council of war had issued warrants for 
any expenditure not provided for in the Act, they would not be 
justified in asking what advice any individual councillor had 
given, or to require him in any way to inculpate a third party 
by asking whether the advice given had or had not been followed. 

1 Holland to Buckingham, March *-, S. P. France. 

* In the Eliot Notes the proceedings in committee are given usually 
without the speaker's name ; but the question of misemployment of the 
subsidies of 1624 is continually recurring in a way which fully bears out my 
view that the complaint was that they had been employed in too extensive 
warfare. Thus, on Feb. 27, " That the council of war may first satisfy 
the House what cour e hath been taken about the four ends, and what 
money hath been expended about fortifying our coasts." On Feb. 28, a 
cause of the war is said to be ' failing in the observation of the ratio [?] for 
the four ends in the statute 21 Ja. ' On the Oth of Maich some one said 
' that we gave our money for defence of our coasts.' The questions on 
which the councillors of war were to be examined are, ' Whether they met 
according to the Act, and how often, and when ? What they advised and 
directed, and whether that advice were followed, or how hindered?' 
Uoon the I7th of March it was voted that ' the misemploying of the money 
given 21 Ja., and the not employing it to the four ends, &c.' a cause. 


The acts of the councillors, in short, were a fair suoject for in- 
vestigation, not their opinions. 

The doctrine thus laid down is in our own day accepted by 
all parties in the State. It never occurs to the most inquisitive 

March 7. member of Parliament to ask what advice has been 
cmorer"fuse g^ ven m tne privacy of the Cabinet. But if it has 
to reply. become possible to cover advice with a wise secrecy, 
it is because all those who act have submitted to a complete 
responsibility to Parliament for their actions. It was not with- 
out reason that when the councillors answered in accordance 
with Heath's opinion, the Commons felt that the partial satis- 
faction offered to them was illusory. In fact, the special stipu- 
lations of the Act of 1624 had been the beginning of a great 
change. It had recognised that certain special officials were to 
be responsible to Parliament as well as to the Crown. It had, 
however, effected either too much or too little, and the Commons 
were naturally of opinion that it had effected too little. If they 
came to the conclusion that the money had been spent on im- 
proper objects, how could they call to account the councillors, 
who might have acted under pressure or misrepresentation, 
whilst Buckingham was placed beyond inquiry ? 

The first thought of the Commons was to persist in their 
original demand. They informed each councillor that two days 
The Com- would be granted him for consideration, and that he 
mons persist. wou i c [ th en b e called upon individually to reply to 
the questions put to him. l 

So strong was the current of feeling, that the old Earl of 
Totness who, as Sir George Carew, had been Lord President 

March ^ Munster in Elizabeth's days, and who was now 
Interview one of the members of the council of war thought 
King-ami * that it was better that he and his fellows should bear 
lotntss. t ^ e Displeasure of the Commons than that the King's 
subsidies should be refused. "I beseech your Majesty," he 
said, " to regard your own ends. For it is better that we should 
suffer imprisonment than be the occasion of missing necessary 
subsidies, or breed any difference between you and the House 

1 Question and Answer, March 3 and 7 ; Heath's opinion, March, 
5. /'. Dom. xxii. 16, 17, 18, 19. 


of Commons : for we cannot do you better service." It was 
well and bravely spoken ; but Charles saw plainly that his own 
authority was at stake. " Let them do what they list," he 
answered proudly. "You shall not go to the Tower. It is 
not you that they aim at, but it is me upon whom they 
make inquisition. And for subsidies, that will not hinder it. 
Gold may be bought too dear, and I thank you for your 
offer." 1 

The council, therefore, returned much the same answer as 
before, and the Commons, finding that no further information 
March n. was to be had, desisted from their inquiry. 2 
$"1 coS As was usuall y the case, Charles was right on the 
of war. narrow technical view of the transaction. He was 
also right in perceiving that, if there was to be a general in- 
quiry into the past, his own authority would suffer grievously. 
A complete revolution was implied in the demand made upon 
him. Yet, after all that had happened, after the disaster which 
had attended Mansfeld's army, and the failure which had 
attended the expedition to Cadiz, after the French alliance, 
of which he had boasted so loudly, was changing, for some 
mysterious reason, into hardly-concealed hostility, was it reason- 
able to ask the Commons to entrust large sums to his wisdom 
and discretion, without that full and searching inquiry into 
the past, by which alone confidence once shaken could be re- 
stored ? 

This, however, was what Charles seriously proposed to do. 

1 Account by Totness, March 9, S. P. Dom. xxii. 51. 

2 It has hitherto been supposed that the King rested his objection 
simply on the impropriety of allowing the House to call his officers to ac- 
count. Charles, however, acknowledged the right of the Commons to en- 
quire into the employment of the money. " His Majesty," so stands the 
form of answer finally agreed on, " hath given us leave to give an account 
of our warrants to the Treasurers for the disbursements of the subsidies 
given last in the time of his Royal Father, which is clearly warranted by 
the Act of Parliament. But concerning our counsels, and the following 
Ihereof, his Majesty hath directly forbidden us to give any account, as 
being against his service to divulge those secrets, and expressly against our 
oath as councillors of war." Form of answer settled, with alterations, in 
Coke's letter of March 10, 5". P, Dom. xxii. 57, 60. 


The announcement made by Pembroke on the yth, and the 
March 10 rumours spread abroad by Clarke in the same even- 
Supply de- ing had produced no effect. On the loth Weston 
delivered a message asking for an immediate supply 
for the necessities of State. The Commons were to vote the 
money, and to ask no questions. 1 

It was absolutely impossible that the Commons should 
accept the ignominious position thus assigned to them. Yet it 
Difficult was hard to say what course they were to follow. 
The'com f Since the old turbulent days when an adverse vote 
mons. j n Parliament had been enforced by actual or pos- 

sible insurrection, ministerial responsibility had been a thing 
unheard of. The officers of the Crown under the Tudors 
were simply the agents of the sovereign, responsible for their 
conduct to him alone. 

It may be that the straightforward way would have been 
the best in the end, and that a simple address assuring the 
TWO courses King that no money could be voted till he could 
before them, inspire the House with confidence that it would be 
wisely expended, would have placed the Commons in a position 
less logically assailable than any other. It was, however, certain 
that such a course would have given deep offence to Charles, 
and, on the other hand, a path was open which, strewed as it 
was with hidden dangers, appeared to offer a far more inviting 

When men's minds are in a state of tension, it often 

happens that the thought with which all are occupied rises to 

the lips of some insignificant person, less able than 

CokTs"' others to weigh the full import of his words. It was 

words. t ^ ug t ^ at w h en t h e SU ppiy proposed by Pembroke 

and Abbot 2 was being discussed, Coke's son Clement, hitherto 

chiefly known for his quarrelsome disposition, flung out the 

taunt, " It is better to die by an enemy than to suffer at home." 

Now that the King was pressing his demand by 

Dr. Turner's Weston, Dr. Turner, a man otherwise of no note, 

queries. ^^ ^ House that the cause of all their grievances 

was ' that great man, the Duke of Buckingham.' Common 

1 Message, March 10, Ilarl. MSS. 161, fol. 49. 2 See p. 68. 


fame had supplied him with certain queries which called for 
an answer. Had the Duke guarded the seas against pirates? 
Had he not, by the appointment of unworthy officers, caused 
the failure of the expedition to Cadiz ? Had he not engrossed 
a large part of the Crown lands to himself, his friends, and his 
relations ? Had he not sold places of judicature and titles of 
honour ? Was he not dangerous to the State, his mother and 
his father-in-law being recusants ? Was it fit that he should, 
in his own person, enjoy so many great offices ? l 

It has generally been supposed that the questions thus 
put had been placed in Turner's mouth by others. However 
this may have been, it marks a change of front on the part of 
the Opposition. If there were no recent precedents for in- 
quiring into the administrative acts of high officials, there were 
the precedents of Bacon and Middlesex for inquiring into their 
Personal personal delinquencies. For some days a multitude 
B^Wng^ n f f acts damaging to Buckingham had been dis- 
ham. covered by the various committees, and it may have 

seemed a more hopeful task to induce Charles to abandon a 
criminal of whose real character he had been ignorant, than to 
surrender a minister to whose policy he had given his constant 

If any such calculation as this passed over the minds of the 

leading members, if, in short, the step which they were prepared 

to take was the fruit of anything more than an honest 

March 14. . 

Chariesasks indignation against the man whom they had come 
for justice. to re g ar( j as a cr iminal indeed, they had not taken 
into account the extent to which Charles had given, not merely 
his name, but his cordial support, to Buckingham's proceedings. 
The attack upon his friend roused him to indignation, and he 
sent to demand justice upon Coke and Turner. At the same 
time the Commons took their stand against the King on 
Tonnage and another most important principle. They directed 
poundage. fa e King's Counsel in the House to bring in a Ton- 
nage and Poundage Bill within a week, unless they wished to 

1 I have abbreviated the Report in Add. MSS. 22, 474, fol. n, which 
looks more like words actually spoken than that given in Rush worth. 


see the farmers of the Customs called upon to explain by what 
authority those duties had been levied. 1 

It would evidently not be easy to establish ministerial re- 
sponsibility. With a sovereign who does not pretend to govern 
Question of or with a sovereign who is ready to make a scape- 
re s ponsi- al 8 oat f an unpopular servant, it presents no difficulty, 
biiiiy. Charles at the same time claimed to rule the State 

and was too conscientious to throw over a minister whom he 
believed to have been unjustly accused. It needed two revo- 
lutions to make the doctrine current in England. Before the 
Commons could succeed in making ministers responsible, 
they had to re-establish in fact, if not in theory, the responsi- 
bility of the Crown. 

Under Eliot's guidance the House did its best to assure 
the King of its loyalty to himself. Coke and Turner were 
Loyal de- ordered to explain their words, and the King was 
the r co^- s f assured that there was no wish to deprive him of the 
mons. means necessary for carrying on a war. The wish 

of the Commons was to make him ' safe at home and feared 
abroad,' but they claimed a right to search out the causes of 
his wants, and to propose such remedies as they might think 
fitting. 2 

The Commons had not long to wait for an answer. Sum- 
moning them to Whitehall, Charles spoke his mind plainly,. 
" Mr. Speaker," he said, " here is much time spent in 

March 15. r . 

The King's inquiring after grievances. I would have that last, 
and more time bestowed in preventing and redressing 
them. I thank you all for your kind offer of supply in general, 
but I desire you to descend to particulars, and consider of your 
time and measure. For it concerneth yourselves, who are like 
first to feel it, if it be too short. 

" But some there are I will not say all that do make 
inquiry into the proceedings, not of any ordinary servant, but 
of one that is most near unto me. It hath been said, ' What 
shall be done to the man whom the King delighteth to honour ? ' 

1 Rush-worth, i. 218; Adit. MSS. 22, 474, fol. 12. Commons' Jour' 
tut Is, i 836. * Xushworth, i. 216 


But now it is the labour of some to seek what may be done 
against the man whom the King thinks fit to be honoured. 

" In a former time, when he was an -instrument to break 
the treaties, you held him worthy of all that was conferred upon 
him by my father. Since that time he hath done nothing but 
in prosecution of what was then resolved on, and hath engaged 
himself, his friends, and his estate for my service, and hath 
done his uttermost to set it forwards ; and yet you question 
him. And for some particulars wherewith he hath been 
pressed, however he hath made his answer, certain it is that 
I did command him to do what he hath done therein. I would 
not have the House to question my servants, much less one 
that is so near me. And therefore I hope I shall find justice 
at your hands to punish such as shall offend in that kind." 

He hoped, Charles concluded by saying, they would do 
him right with respect to Coke as well as to Turner, To their 
just grievances he would always be ready to listen. 1 

That the whole administration was one great grievance 

Charles could not be brought to understand. Yet this was 

precisely the belief to which the House was rapidly 

March 17. . J . . 

Eliot's coming ; and now Eliot took the lead in counselling 

that there should be no drawing back. " We have 

had a representation of great fear," he cried, " but I hope it shall 

not darken our understandings." 2 Coke might explain away 

his words : Turner, stricken with illness, perhaps the result of 

anxiety, might shrink back into the obscurity from which he 

had emerged for a moment ; 3 but the thought which they had 

expressed had become the common property of the House. 

During the following days the committees were busily at 

1 1 quote the speech from a copy in Add. MSS. 22,474; fol. 19, which 
again looks more like the words actually spoken than the form given by 

2 Mr. Forster (Sir J. Eliot, i. 500) has happily restored this exclama- 
tion to its ] roper place. 

3 I cannot share the opinion of those who speak disparagingly of Dr. 
Turner's letter. It seems to me a manly and outspoken production. He 
was afterwards one of the Straffordians, so that he can hardly have been a 
timid man. 


work accumulating fresh evidence against Buckingham. Charles 
Suppiyagain impatiently urged the immediate consideration of 
demanded, supply, and after the House had once more listened 
to an explanation of the necessities of the Exchequer from 
Sir John Coke, 1 the 2-jih was fixed as the day for taking the 
subject into consideration. On the 29th, Buckingham, if he 
wished, might make answer to the charges collecting against 

On the ayth, after a persuasive speech from Rudyerd, Eliot 

rose. Commencing with a graceful allusion to the day, as the 

first anniversary of the King's accession, he threw 

March 27. ' 

EHofs aside the argument which had been so often the 
refuge of timid reasoners in the last Parliament, that 
the subject was unable to give. The only question, he justly 
argued, was whether the subject was willing to give. Yet how 
Foreign mis- could men be willing when one miscarriage had fol- 
carriages. lowed another, and when these disastrous enterprises 
' were undertaken, if not planned and made, by that great lord 
the Duke of Buckingham.' 

Nor were affairs at home much better. " What oppressions 
have been practised," the orator continued, " are too visible ; 
Domestic not om< y oppressions of the subject, but oppressions 
oppressions. on t he King. His treasures are exhausted, his re- 
venues are consumed, as well as the treasures and abilities of 
the subject ; and though many hands are exercised, and divers 
have their gleanings, the harvest and great gathering comes to 
one. For he it is that must protect the rest. His countenance 
draws all others to him as his tributaries ; and by that they 
are enforced not only to pillage for themselves but for him, and 
to the full proportion of his avarice and ambition. This makes 
the abuse and injury the greater. This cannot but dishearten, 
this cannot but discourage, all men well affected, all men well 
disposed to the advancement and happiness of the King. Nor, 
without some reformation in these things, do I know what wills 
or what abilities men can have to give a new supply." 

Yet it was not Eliot's intention to dissuade the House from 

Add. MSS. 22,474, fol. 13. 


granting supply. He had two precedents to quote. In the 
Precedents re 'g n of Henry III., Hubert de Burgh, 'a favourite 
quoted. never to be paralleled but now having been the only 
minion both to the King then living and to his father which 
was dead,' had been removed from office, and supply, refused 
before, was at once granted. " The second precedent," he then 
said, "was in loth of Richard II.; and herein I shall desire 
you to observe the extraordinary likeness of some particulars. 
First, for the placing and displacing of great officers. Then, 
within the space of two years, the treasurer was changed twice, 
the chancellor thrice, and so of others ; so that great officers 
could hardly sit to be warmed in their places. Now you can 
ask yourselves how it is at present, and how many shifts, 
changes, and re-changes this kingdom can instance in like time 
to parallel with that. Secondly, as to moneys. I find that then 
there had been moneys previously granted and not accounted 
for ; and you know that so it is yet with us. Thirdly, there 
were new aids required and urged by means of a declaration 
of the King's occasions and estate ; and this likewise, as we 
know, agrees with our condition. Yet then, because of these 
and other exceptions made against De la Pole, the Earl of 
Suffolk, the minion of that time, of whom it was said that he 
misadvised the King, misemployed his treasures, and intro- 
verted his revenues, the supply demanded was refused, until, 
upon the petition of the Commons, he was removed both from 
his offices and the Court." 

Then, after a bitter reference to the Crown 'jewels, the 
pride and glory of this kingdom,' now offered in vain to the 
merchants of Amsterdam, Eliot concluded by proposing that 
the resolution for the three subsidies and three fifteenths 
asked for by Rudyerd should be passed, but that it should not 
be converted into a Bill till grievances had been redressed. 
The position thus pointed out was at once taken up by the 
House. ' 

It was the misfortqne of the situation that unless Charles 
had been other than he was, he could not accept the hand thus 

1 Forster, Sir J. Eliot, i. 515. 


offered to him. Believing, and it may safely be added being 
Charles not justified in believing, that Buckingham's character was 
to be won. not t h at compound of avarice and self- seek ing which 
had been described by Eliot, his apprehension was too dull to 
realise the full meaning of the late disasters, or to understand 
the state of mind into which they would throw a patriotic 
Englishman anxious to fathom the causes of his country's mis- 
fortunes. Evils, if they existed at all, if they were not the result 
of mere ill-luck or of the parsimony of former Parliaments, were 
to be brought before his notice in a respectful and decorous 
fashion. It never occurred to him that, if Buckingham was 
well-intentioned, he might be vain, rash, and incapable, still less, 
that his own ability for government was no greater than that of 
his minister. 

To such a man it would seem a plain duty to hold his own. 
He knew enough of history to be aware that the fall of Hubert 
de Burgh had been followed by the insurrection of Simon de 
Montfort, and the fall of Michael de la Pole by the revolution 
which placed Henry IV. on the throne. He would take care 
to guard in another fashion the crown which he had received 
from his father. That the crown itself was attacked he had 
no doubt whatever. The leaders of the Commons, he fancied, 
were taking advantage of the necessities of the position into 
which their advice had brought him, to raise themselves above 
the throne. 

With such thoughts in his mind, Charles summoned the Com- 
mons into his presence on the agth, the day on which Buckingham 
had been invited to give an account of his proceed- 

March 29. 

Coventry's ings to the House. As soon as they appeared they 
declaration. wre addressed by Coventry. The King, said the Lord 
Keeper, would have them to understand the difference between 
liberty of counsel and liberty of control. Not only had they 
refrained from censuring Coke and Turner, but they had fol- 
lowed in the steps of the latter by founding their charges upon 
common fame. In their attack upon Buckingham they had 
assailed the honour of the King and of his father, and they 
had refused to trust him with the reformation of abuses. It 
was therefore his Majesty's express command that they should 


desist from this unparliamentary inquisition, and commit their 
real grievances to his wisdom and justice. Further, he was 
to say that the supply proposed was insufficient, and that 
the mode in which it had been offered was dishonouring to 
his Majesty. If they could not give a better answer in three 
days, he could not promise that the session would continue 

Charles had a few words of his own to add. " Now, that 
you have all things according to your wishes," he said, after 
Additions by reminding his hearers that he had entered upon the 
the King. war m compliance with their advice, " and that I 
am so far engaged that you think there is no retreat, now you 
begin to set the dice, and make your own game ; but I pray 
you to be not deceived ; it is not a Parliamentary way, nor it is 
not a way to deal with a king. Mr. Coke told you it was better 
to be eaten up by a foreign enemy than to be destroyed at 
home. Indeed, I think it more honour for a king to be invaded 
and almost destroyed by a foreign enemy, than to be despised 
by his own subjects. Remember, that Parliaments are altogether 
in my power for their calling, sitting, and dissolution ; there- 
fore, as I find the fruits of them good or evil, they are to 
continue, or not to be." l 

Not so ! Precedent might be met by precedent, and the 
history of the Constitution might be ransacked for evidence 
weakness of th at England had, at one time or another, been 
HIS position, either almost a republic or almost an absolute 
monarchy ; but the right of control, as opposed to the mere 
right of giving counsel, was not to be won or defended by such 
arguments as these. In the long run it would lie with those 
by whom it was best deserved. 

The Commons, moved as they were by grave necessity, 
stood firm. At Eliot's advice they resolved to draw up a re- 
March 3 o. monstrance to explain their position to the King. 2 
Eliot pro- Before the resolution could take effect they were 

poses a re- * 

monsnance. summoned to a conference to hear Buckingham 
explain away Charles's threat of immediate dissolution, and 

1 Par!. Hist. ii. 56. * Forster, Sir 7. E/'ot, i. 529. 

r. 2 


announce that a committee was to be selected by the King 
from both Houses to consider the state of the finances. 

Buckingham did not stop here. With magnificent assurance 

he proceeded to draw a picture of his own actions in startling 

contrast with that which had been presented by 

Buckingham _-,.. , , ... __ . , , 

vindicates Eliot three days before. He told the House of the 
eagerness with which, after his return from Spain, he 
had thrown himself into the business of the State, and of his un- 
ceasing efforts to carry out the warlike policy of Parliament, frus- 
trated, alas ! by accident, or by the faults of others. Then, after 
an assurance from Conway that nothing of all this had been done 
without counsel, he again rose to tell the true story 

Tells the * 

truth about of the ships which had been used against Rochelle, 
s lps> revealing the secret that all the solemn orders and 
injunctions into which the Commons had been so laboriously 
inquiring were a mere farce. He had, he said, ' proceeded with 
art,' and had done his best to avert the surrender of the ships. 
If he had not succeeded in this, everything had turned out for 
the best for the Huguenots, ' for the King of France, thereby 
breaking his word, gave just occasion for my master to inter- 
cede a peace for them, which is obtained, and our ships are 
coming home.' 

After a few words from Pembroke, who added that at the 
time when the ships were surrendered it was believed that they 
Effect of this would be used against Genoa, the meeting came to 
revelation. an en( j i Qf th e effect which this astounding revela- 
tion produced at the time we have no information ; but as 
the Commons never took the slightest notice of what they had 
heard, it may be concluded that they disbelieved the entire 
story. How indeed could they be assured that the man 
who x openly boasted that he had cheated the King of France, 
April 4. would not, on some future occasion, take credit for 
Remon- having cheated them. At all events they returned 

strance of . ,. . , 

the Com- to their own House, resolved to vindicate, in the re- 
monstrance which they were preparing, their claim to 
call in question the highest subjects who were found grievous to 

1 Our knowledge of this conference has hitherto ended with Conway'j 
speech. But the whole can now be read in Ad4. MSS. 22,474, fol.22 b~3i b. 


the commonwealth. On April 4 the Remonstrance was pre- 
sented to Charles, and at his request the Houses adjourned at 
once for the Easter recess, to give him time to re-consider his 

When the Commons re-assembled on the I3th they found 

April 13. that no further obstacle was to be opposed to their 

They are proceedings. The King advised them to lay aside 

allowed to f , . , i , 

go on. lesser things for greater ; ' but further than that he 

did not go. 

Charles's motives for this change of language are mere 

matter of conjecture ; but, on the whole, it is most probable that 

Buckingham's speech in his own defence appeared to 

Probable . . r . . ....... n , 

motives of him to be so entirely conclusive that he fancied that, 
Charles. lm less he provoked the Commons by opposition, it 
could not fail in having its fitting effect. 2 

In these expectations, if he ever entertained them, Charles 

was speedily to be undeceived. On the i;th a sub-com- 

mittee met to discover the cause of causes, or, in 

April 17. . ' 

Proceedings other words, to fix the grievances upon Buckingham, 

intheHouse. of t 

was ordered to consider the evils, causes, and remedies. 

In order that this Committee might be freed from the fear 

of an impending war with France, Carleton, who had just re- 

A ril ig turned from his embassy, was directed to give an 

Carietons account of the position of affairs. Besides telling 

how the ' Vanguard ' and its comrades would soon 

be back, and how the order for the release of the English ships 

and goods had been granted, he had to tell of the hope of co- 

operation with France upon the Continent. All now, he said, 

rested on his Majesty's answer to the French King's proposals, 

' and the King resteth upon the Parliament.' 

Either, however, the Commons disbelieved Carleton's story, 

1 West on 's message, Sloane MSS. 1710, fol. 289. 

8 " And for his own particular, the Duke gave so pertinent answers to 
those things which were cast upon him for faults, as I conceive the greatest 
part and most indinerent men went away well satisfied." Con way to 
Wake, April 14, S. J'. Venice. 


or they considered it irrelevant to the point at issue. They 
went steadily on with the charges against the Duke, 

Persistence , , * r i 

of the Com- and they repined to a fresh message demanding an 
increase of the subsidies voted, unless they wished 

his Majesty to ' be driven to change his counsels,' by a resolution 
that they would go on with the matter in hand fore- 
noon and afternoon, so as to be able to take the 

King's wish into consideration on the 25th. 

By this time the charges against Buckingham were in so 

forward a state* that it was necessary to clear the way for them 
by considering the objections which had been raised to 

Proceeding , , 1-11 i i T-. 

on common the ground upon which they were based. For many 
weeks the whole band of courtiers had been sneer- 
ing at those who were attacking a minister upon mere common 
fame, as if the House had based its action upon rumour 
alone. One morning's debate sufficed to blow the fiction to 
the winds. Eliot and Pym were not the men to ask the House 
of Lords to accept the gossip of Paul's Walk as evidence 
against the meanest Englishman alive. The difficulty, such as 
it was, was of a purely technical character. In the cases of 
Bacon and Middlesex inquiry had been preceded by the pre- 
sentation of a petition from some person who felt himself 
aggrieved. The question was whether the House could in- 
stitute an inquiry when no private person had complained. 
In either case the real justification of the action taken would 
be the inquiry conducted by the House, and, in deciding that 
a petition was unnecessary, the Commons undoubtedly decided 
in accordance with the dictates of common sense. " Else," 
as Selden argued, " no great man shall, for fear of danger, be 
accused by any particular man." If Buckingham could not be 
called in question till some one out of the House was hardy 
enough to appear against him, his opponents within the House 
might have waited long enough. 1 

When this point had once been settled, the charges 

The charges were speedily voted, the one relating to the ' St. Peter ' 

of Havre de Grace being replaced amongst them. 

In order to point out distinctly that no attack was intended 

1 Commons' Journals, i. 844-848. 


upon the King, the Commons passed a resolution for a 
Another sub- fourth subsidy, to be included in the Bill which was 
sidy voted. to fog brought in as soon as grievances had been 

Whatever Buckingham's faults may have been, history can- 
not, like the House of Commons, turn away its eyes from the 
faults of Charles. During these weeks in which he 

Charles and , , , ,. , .. , , . - . , 

the French had been struggling to defend his favourite, the 
French alliance, which he had risked so much to 
bring to pass, had been melting away before his eyes. 

There can be very little doubt that in the beginning of 

March, Louis as well as Richelieu, meant honestly to co-operate 

March 4 . with England on the Continent. The terms of the 

Government P eace were accepted at Rochelle, and orders were 

favourabieto sen t to the King's commanders to withdraw their 

the English * 

alliance. troops from before the walls ; ' but there was a large 
party at the French Court which viewed with grave displeasure 
a peace with the Huguenots and a war with Spain, and this 
party had a useful instrument in Du Fargis, the French am- 
bassador at Madrid. 

Without instructions from his own Government, Du Fargis 
drew up, in concert with Olivares, the draft of a treaty putting 
Treaty with an en d to tne disputes existing between the two 
pared T'bu monarchies. When it reached Paris the question 
Fargis. whether this treaty should be adopted or not formed 
the battle-field between Richelieu on the one side and the 
friends of the clergy on the other. 

French historians have much to tell us of the strength of this 

clerical party, and of the hold which it gained upon the mind of 

the King. All this, however, was as true in January 

it"accept- as it was in March. If this party did not prevent 


Louis from signing the treaty with the Huguenots, 
why did it prevail upon him to sign the treaty with Spain ? 
The answer is not very difficult to give. If Charles and Eng- 
land had been ready to support the French movement towards 
hostility with Spain, Du Fargis's treaty would surely have been 

> Louis XIII. to Blainville, March , King's MSS. 138, p. 1283. 


rejected ; but if Charles were lukewarm, or threatening t 
interfere on behalf of the King's Protestant subjects, then ito 
acceptance would become an act of imperative necessity, not 
only for Louis, but even for Richelieu himself. No French 
Government could prudently engage in war in Italy or Ger- 
many, leaving the great seaport on the Atlantic coast to the 
chances of a hostile occupation by the King of England. 

All through March and April Charles was doing his best to 
throw Louis into the arms of Spain. On March 7 Holland 
and Carleton announced that, in addition to the 
Charles's orders despatched to restore the English ships and 
!he a French f to withdraw the troops from Rochelle, a day was 
Government. fi xe( j f or the consideration of the best way of assisting 
Mansfeld and the King of Denmark, and that, in spite of the 
clamour of the French merchants, directions had been given 
for removing the embargo on English property. The English 
ambassadors, on their part, had made some excuse for the 
seizure of the ' St. Peter.' " But," they wrote, " for former pro- 
ceedings in ill-treatment of the Frenchmen which were taken 
in those prizes, in embezzling and selling their goods, in suffering 
them to live in want and misery whilst their cause was in trial, 
in delay of justice after his Majesty had resolved of restitution 
of their goods at Hampton Court, we wish we had been better 
furnished with matter than we were to answer their complaints, 
which were made the cause of these reprisals, though not justi- 
fiable by the treaties." Yet, in spite of his just ground of com- 
plaint, Louis, though asking that Blainville should be admitted 
to a formal audience, offered to recall him, and to appoint 
another ambassador of a more conciliatory disposition. 1 

The next day the ambassadors wrote again. They had been 
unable to accept the removal of the embargo, because it was 
M . granted on condition that they would engage that the 
Quezon of French prizes in England should be liberated within 
irrefe^s'mg three weeks. Charles refused utterly to believe in 
goods seued. ^ smcer j t y o f t h e French Government Instead of 
giving his ambassadors orders to show signs of friendliness, he 

1 Holland and Carleton to Coke, March 7, S. P. France. 


left them without instructions about the embargo or the assist- 
Mar , ance offered to Denmark, expressed his suspicion 
Charles's that the French meant to attack Rochelle, and finally 
suspicions. recalled them> on March 28 Holland and Carleton 
left Paris. 1 So plain was the folly of such conduct that even 
the obsequious Conway, for once in his life, raised an objection 
to the proceedings of his master. He perceived, he informed 
Buckingham, ' that, by the whole scope of the present estate of 
things, the French King hath no desire to fall in disorder with 
his Majesty, and that what had passed in Paris declared an 
intention rather to oppose the public enemy than to maintain 
the broils at home.' 2 

For a time it seemed that Conway's advice would be taken. 
In the beginning of April, five ships were released in England. 
April 19. Blainville was received with all ceremony at an audi- 
recefred 1 at ence at wmc h he was to take leave. The deputies of 
an audience. Rochelle, whose presence in England gave umbrage 
to Louis, were about to return home. 3 These bright hopes, 
however, were but of short continuance. There were fresh 
seizures of French vessels at sea, and the English goods were 
still detained in France till better news came from beyond the 
Channel. 4 

A few seizures more or less might easily have been got over, 
if there had been any desire to remove the cause of the evil ; 
but Charles maintained steadily that his view of the law of prize 
was right, and that the French view was wrong. There was no 
effort made to come to an understanding on this point, any more 
than any effort was made to come to an understanding about 
April 27. the German war. As the prospect of a close alliance 
tmjdnedln w ' tn England faded away, the French Government 
France of became the more reluctant to fulfil the hopes which 
alliance. it had held out to the Huguenots when that alliance 
appeared to be attainable. One day the deputies from Rochelle 

1 Holland and Carleton to Conway, March 1 1 ; Coke to Holland and 
Carleton, March 16, 17, ibid. 

* Conway to Buckingham, March, S. P. France. 

Blainville to Louis XIII., March p, Kings MSS. 138, p. 1429. 

4 Louis to Conway, April 22, 27 : S. P. France. 


were told that Fort Louis could not be demolished, at all events 
not till new fortifications were erected on the Isle of Rhe. They 
appealed to Charles for aid, and Charles at once replied that he 
was ready to support them in their lawful demands. 1 

Even if there was to be no actual war with England, if there 

was to be nothing worse than coolness between the two Courts, 

A rfl it was a pressing necessity for Louis to make up his 

The Peace of quarrel with Spain. On April 30, Du Fargis's draft 

was converted into the Treaty of Barcelona. Riche- 
lieu gave a consent, doubtless unwillingly enough, but it was a 
consent which was under the circumstances inevitable. To 
.succeed in the policy which he had adopted, it was necessary 
that Charles should give to it his active support As soon as it 
was beyond doubt that this support was not to be given, Riche- 
lieu, as prompt to seize the conditions of action as Charles was 
dull, faced round for a time, till he could pursue his own object 
again without the necessity of asking for the good word of so 

unintelligent an ally. The alliance between England 

End of the * 

French and France was at an end. It was but too probable 
that a war between England and France would not be 
long in following. 

1 Deputies of Rochelle in France to the Deputies in England, -^ rc -, t* 
April - ; Instructions to Barrett, April 30, S. P. France. 



ALTHOUGH it was impossible that Parliament should have any 

real knowledge of the course of the negotiation^ with France, 

it can have been no secret that the relations be- 


Details of tween the two crowns were anything but satisfac- 
tions e with a tory. It was a matter of common conversation that 
e^eraiiy ' Blainville had for some weeks been refused admission 
known. to c ourtj tnat English ships and goods had been 
sequestered in France, and that French ships and goods were 
still being brought as prizes into English ports. There was 
enough in this to throw serious doubt on Carleton's assertion 
that the King was only waiting for Parliamentary supplies in 
order to join France in open war. If this had been the whole 
truth, why did not Charles give further information of the 
objects at which he was aiming, and of the means by which he 
expected to attain them ? 

Such general distrust of a Government is certain to vent 
itself in personal attacks upon those of whom it is composed. 
In the course of the past weeks the committees of the Com- 
mons had been busily bringing together all kinds of charges 
against Buckingham, thinking that here was to be found the 
explanation of that which was otherwise so inexplicable. The 
House of Lords too, unluckily for Buckingham, had a grievance 
of its own. Charles had probably forgotten that by 
Ear! of sending Arundel to the Tower whilst Parliament was 
Aiunde ' sitting, he might be accused of violating the privileges 
of the House of Lords ; but the Peers were not disposed to be 


equally forgetful, and, after no long delay, they demanded an 
account of the absence of a member of their House 

of the House from his place in Parliament. During the Easter re- 
cess Arundel was allowed to exchange his cell in the 

Tower for confinement in one of his own houses. Agreeable as 

the change may have been to himself, it did not affect the 
. .. grievance of the Peers, and on April 19 they drew up 

Their remon- a remonstrance vindicating their right to demand the 
presence of any member of their House who was not 

accused of treason, felony, or refusal to give security against 

breach of the peace. 1 

At this juncture a fresh champion raised his voice on behalf 

of the privileges of Parliament, a champion whose co-operation 
was all the more valuable to the leaders of the Lower 

appears on House, because he could speak with official know- 
ledge of the actions which he denounced, and was 

not, as they had been, compelled to extract the truth from the 

mouths of unwilling witnesses. 

When Charles first ascended the throne he had missed the 

opportunity of putting an end gracefully to his long altercation 

with Bristol. He assured his father's late ambassador 

May. that, though he was quite aware that he had not of- 
to fended in any matter of honesty, he could not acquit 
Bristol. hj m o f trusting too implicitly to the Spanish ministers. 
Bristol must therefore acknowledge his error if he wished to 
be received into favour, though the slightest acknowledgment 
would be sufficient. 

Slight as the acknowledgment required was, it was more 

than Bristol could give, unless he were first convinced that he 

had committed an error at all. When once Charles's 

Bristol s con- . . 

finement overtures had been rejected, and Bnstols confine- 
ment at Sherborne was maintained, a grievance had 
been established of which that cool and practised disputant 
was certain sooner or later to avail himself. For, loose as the 

1 Joachimi to the States-General, April -*, Add. MSS. 17,677, L, 
foL 184 b, Lords' Journals, iii. 558, 564, 566. 


notions on the right of imprisonment by prerogative had been, 
it was difficult to argue that the King was justified in depriving 
a subject of his liberty on the simple ground that the subject 
thought that he had been right when the King thought he had 
been wrong. 

Even Charles seems to have had the glimmering of a sus- 
picion that everything was not as it should be. He sent direc- 
Tuneio ti ns to Bristol to abstain from presenting himself at 
Bristol for- his first Parliament, but he excused himself on the 

bidden to jiiij 11- 

come to ground that he had as yet had no time to examine 

Parliament. ^ ^^ Qf ^ restra j nt 

Months passed away, and there were no signs that the 
requisite leisure would ever be found. Bristol quietly remained 
1626. at Sherborne till the approaching coronation gave 
H^asksTo ki m an excuse for asking for liberty. He also re- 
be present at minded the King that the instructions which he had 

the Corona- . " . ... 

tion. received commanded him to remain in the confine- 

ment in which he had been at James's death. As, however, 
his late master had ordered his liberation, it was hard to know 
what was precisely intended. 

Charles perhaps thought that Bristol was laughing at him, 
and flashed into anger. Forgetting that he had already pro- 
nounced the Earl to be guiltless of any real offence, he now 
accused him of having attempted to pervert him from his religion 
when he was in Spain, and of having given his approval to the 
proposal that the Electoral Prince should be educated at 

Violent as the King's letter was, it contained no intimation 
of any intention to bring Bristol to trial. The incriminated 
Bristol man saw hi s advantage. In his reply he plainly 
h" s u reld hat showed it to be his opinion that, though he could 
for a trial. no ^ as a subject, demand from his sovereign a trial 
as a right, the charges which had been brought against him 
were such as could only be fairly met in open court. ' 

At any other time Bristol would probably have been com- 

The whole correspondence is printed in the sixth volume of the 
Camden Miscellany. 


pelled to remain quietly at Sherborne without hope of liberty. 
Parliament, however, being again in session, the Earl, who, for 

March 22. a second time had received no writ of summons, 
the Lords for f rce d Charles's hand by petitioning the Lords to 
his writ. mediate with the King that he might either be brought 
to trial or allowed his rights as a subject and a Peer. 1 

Here at least Bristol was sure of a favourable hearing. The 
Peers had already expressed a strong opinion in Arundel's case 

March 3 o. that the King had no right to deprive their House 
The Lords o f th e serv ices of any one of its members without 


Bristol. bringing him to trial, and a committee to which 
Bristol's petition was referred reported that there was no instance 
on record in which a Peer capable of sitting in Parliament had 
been refused his writ. The King, answered Buckingham, 
would grant the writ, but he had intimated to Bristol that he 
did not wish him to make use of it. So transparent a subter- 
fuge was not likely to be acceptable to the Lords. Lord Saye 
and Sele, always, ready to protest against arbitrary proceedings, 
moved that it should be entered in the Journal Book that, at the 
Earl's petition, his Majesty sent him the writ ; and no more. 
Saye's proposal was at once adopted, and no trace of Charles's 
unlucky contrivance is to be found in the records of the House. 1 

Bristol had another surprise in store for Charles. As soon 
as he received the writ from Coventry, with the accompanying 
A ril letter informing him that he was not to use it, he 
Bristol comes replied with inimitable irony that as the writ, being 
to London. under fa e King's great seal, took precedence of a 
mere letter from the Lord Keeper, it was his duty to obey the 
Royal missive by coming to London. 3 

When Bristol reached London he proceeded to lay his 

correspondence with Coventry before the Peers. For two 

April 17. years, he added, he had been a prisoner simply 

Attacks because Buckingham was afraid of him. He there- 
ham, fore desired to be heard ' both in the point of his 

wrongs, and of the accusation of the said Duke,' 

1 Lords' Journals, iii. 537. 2 Ehings Notes, 1624-1626, p. 135. 

Earl of Bristol's Defence., Camden Miscellany, vi. Pref. xxxv. 


Charles and Buckingham seemed to be powerless in the 
hands of the terrible Earl. They had but one move left in a 
A ril ^ game in which their adversary had occupied all the 
is accused positions of strength in advance. Though Charles 
ofhigh ing had emphatically declared that Bristol had committed 
treason- no actual offence, and had been guilty of nothing 
worse than an error of judgment, he was now compelled to 
accuse him of high treason, if he was not to allow him to take 
his seat triumphantly and to attack Buckingham from the very 
midst of the House of Lords. 

That House had suddenly risen to a position unexampled 
for many a long year. Its decision was awaited anxiously on 
April 29. the gravest questions. It was called upon to do 
to takehis 01 J ust ^ ce on Bristol, on Buckingham, and, by impli- 
* at? cation, on the King himself. By this time too it 

was becoming evident that the sympathy of the House was not 
with Buckingham. There was a sharp debate on the question 
whether Bristol should be allowed to take his seat till his accu- 
sation had been read. The supporters of the Government 
were compelled to avoid an adverse decision by an adjourn- 
ment, and prevent further discussion by hurrying on the accu- 

On May i, therefore, Bristol was brought to the bar, to 

listen to the allegations of the Attorney-General. Before Heath 

could open his mouth the prisoner appealed to the 

House, urging that the object of the charge was 

merely to put him in the position of a person accused of treason, 

so as to invalidate his testimony against Buckingham. He 

called Pembroke to witness how, when he first returned from 

Spain, Buckingham had proposed to silence him by sending 

him to the Tower. Buckingham, he said, was now aiming at 

the same object in another way. 

If there had ever been any intention of getting rid of 
The charges Bristol's charges upon technical grounds it could 
s?mui^t ed hardly be pressed after this. It was finally decided 
neousiy. faat, though the Attorney-General was to have the 
precedence, the two cases were to be considered as proceeding 


simultaneously, so as to allow Bristol to say what he liked 
without hindrance. 1 

Hitherto the contest had been very one-sided. In Bristol's 
hands Charles and Buckingham had been as novices contend- 
ing with a practised gladiator. In truth they had 

The charges , , . , , , . __ , . 

against but little to say. Many of Heath s charges related 
to mere advice given as a councillor, and those 
which went further would hardly bear the superstructure which 
was placed upon them. The attempt to change the Prince';* 
religion of course figured in the list, as did also an elaborate 
argument that if Bristol had not advised the continuance of 
the marriage negotiations in spite of his knowledge that the 
Spaniards were not in earnest, Charles would not have been 
obliged to go to Madrid to test the value of the ambassador's 
asseverations. Still more strange was the accusation that 
Bristol, in expressing a doubt of the accuracy of Buckingham's 
narrative in the Parliament of 1624, had thrown suspicion upon 
a statement which the present King had affirmed to be true, 
and had thereby given ' his Majesty the lie.' 

Bristol's charges against Buckingham were then read. His 
main point was that Buckingham had plotted with Gondomar 
to carry the Prince into Spain in order to effect a 
charges change in his religion, and that Porter, when he 
Bucking- went to Madrid in the end of 1622, was cognisant of 
ham ' this plot When Buckingham was in Spain, he had 

absented himself from the English service in the ambassador's 
house, and had gone so far as to kneel in adoration of the 
Sacrament, in order ' to give the Spaniards a hope of the 
Prince's conversion.' Far worse conditions had been imposed 
by Spain after the Prince's visit than had been thought of 
before, and if England was now free from them it was because 
Buckingham's behaviour was so intolerable that the Spanish 
ministers refused to have anything further to do with him. 
Other charges of less importance followed, and then Bristol 
proceeded to accuse Conway of acting as a mere tool of the 
man whom he was accustomed to style his most gracious 

1 Eking s Notes, 1624-1626, p. 154. 


Even if Buckingham, as was probably the case, had been 
the dupe rather than the confederate of Gondomar, and if he 
Case he- had merely played with the Spaniards in their hope- 
anTeuck- 101 ^ 6SS design of converting the Prince, in order that 
ingham. j^ e m ight gain his own ends the better, the weight of 
Bristol's charges against him tells far more heavily than those 
which he was able to bring against Bristol. Not one of the 
latter can compare in gravity with that one of his own actions 
which is known beyond doubt to have actually taken place, 
namely, that he formed a plan with a foreign ambassador for 
carrying the Prince to Spain, and that he concealed the design 
for nearly a whole year from the reigning sovereign. 

No wonder that Buckingham and Buckingham's master 
had been anxious to avoid the terrible exposure. They were 
probably aware that Bristol had in his possession the letters 
which had been carried by Porter to Spain ; and, though we have 
no means of knowing what those letters contained, there can be 
iittle doubt that there was much in them which neither Charles 
nor Buckingham would wish to make public. 1 As soon as it 
was known that the Lords meant to go into the 

May 2. . 

interference evidence on both sides, Charles sent them a message 
by t e Kmg. t ^ at jj r j sto j' s charges were merely recriminatory, 
and that he was himself able to bear witness to their untruth. 
Though Carlisle did his best to irritate the Peers against Bristol 
by calling the attention of the House to the Earl's disrespect 
to their lordships in sending a copy of his charges to the 
Commons, they refused to notice an act in committing which 
the prisoner had evidently intended to secure for himself the 
publicity of which he feared to be deprived. 2 

The investigation therefore was left to take its course. On 
the 6th, in the midst of a defence conducted with 

May 6. . 

Bristol's consummate ability, and m which Bristol pointed 

out that whatever he might have said in Spain about 

the Prince's conversion was caused by Charles's deliberate ab- 

1 In tne Sherborne MSS. are the interrogatories which Bristol, in his 
subsequent trial in the Star Chamber, put to Porter, asking him whether 
each of these letters, of which the first words were quoted, was genuine or 
not. 2 F.lsings Notes, 1624-1626, p. 163. 



stention from contradicting the rumours which were abroad of 
his intended change of religion, the accused Earl extracted 
from Pembroke an admission that he knew of Buckingham's 
proposal to send him to the Tower on his return from Spain. 
Such an admission, by showing how indifferent Buckingham 
had been to the wishes of James, went far to strengthen the sus- 
picions which were generally entertained, that he was now no 
less indifferent t :> the wishes of Charles. 

Every step of this great process was marked by some fresh 
interference of the King. He now sent to contest the right of 
May s. the Lords to allow Bristol the use of counsel, as 
Question of being contrary to the fundamental laws of the realm, 
counsel. This and the preceding message, in which Charles 
had tendered his personal evidence, were very coolly received 
by the Peers. The question of the propriety of admitting the 
King's evidence was referred to the Judges. The question of 
counsel was debated in the House. In the course of the dis- 
cussion one of the Peers mentioned that in 1624, when Charles 
himself was a member of the House, counsel had been allowed 
to persons accused before the Lords.' 

The discussion was at its height when fresh actors appeared 
upon the scene. A deputation from the Commons, with 
Buckingham Carleton, a most unwilling spokesman, at its head, 
impeached ^ad come to demand a conference that afternoon, 

by the Com- 
mons. w ith the intention of proceeding with the long- 
prepared impeachment of the Duke. 

In the afternoon, therefore, eight managers on behalf of 
the Commons, together with sixteen assistants, appeared to 
read and to explain the charges. To the surprise of many, 
though it was not strictly in contravention of precedent, 2 Buck- 
ingham himself was present, taking up a position directly 
opposite to the managers, and even, it is said, expressing his 
contempt for them by laughing in their faces. 3 

1 Elsing"s Notes, 1624-1626, p. 128. Charles afterwards argued that 
Middlesex, in whose case the order was made, was not accused of high 
treason, whereas Bristol was. 

2 The theory which seemed likely to prevail in Bristol's case, was that 
the accused person might keep his seat till his accusation had been read. 

* Mcade to Stuteville, May 13, Ett'is, ser. I, iii. 266. 


The prologue was entrusted to Digges. " The laws of 
England," he said, after a preamble in which he attributed to 
Prologue by tne Duke all the calamities which had befallen the 
Digges. nation, " have taught us that kings cannot command 
ill or unlawful things. And whatsoever ill events succeed, the 
executioners of such designs must answer for them." 

It has been said that no one rises, so high as he who knows 
not whither he is going. Little did the Commons 

Importance ,., ,,, , ..... , , ,-. , 

ofhisdecia- think of all that was implied in these words. By the 
mouth of Digges they had grasped at the sovereignty 
of England. 

By his constant personal interference Charles had shown 
that he knew better than the House of Commons how much 
Meaning of his own authority was at stake. They fancied that 
imerference Buckingham had been the author of everything that 
of Charles. had 5 een d one had taken advantage of the King's 
youth and docility ; had deceived him, misadvised him, even 
plundered him, without his knowing anything about the matter. 
Charles knew that it was not so ; that he had himself been a 
party to all that had been done, either by agreeing to it before- 
hand or by approving of it afterwards. As this was so, he would 
never abandon Buckingham to his adversaries. Everything, he 
assured the Houses again and again, had been done by him or 
with his consent. It was not his fault if the Commons would 
not face the larger question of royal responsibility before en- 
tering upon the smaller question of ministerial responsibility. 
He at least was perfectly clear about royal responsibility. The 
king, he held, as Laud had taught him, was responsible to God 
alone. When the king had said that a thing had been well 
done, there was an end of the matter. The weakness of the 
position of the Commons was that they would not look this 
assertion in the face. They maintained that by impeaching 
Buckingham they were strengthening the King's hands, whereas 
they were in reality weakening them, and were making the 
King indirectly responsible, whilst they would be the first to 
deny that he was responsible at all. 

The Commons had need to take good care to say no more 
than they could prove. Yet how was this possible ? The records 

H 2 


of State affairs were not accessible to them. No Blue Books 
were issued in those days to enlighten them on the 

D.fficultyof * 

reaching the words spoken and the policy supported by a minister. 
Since Charles's accession the acts of Government 
had been veiled in deeper secrecy than ever before. If James 
had sometimes changed his mind, he had never failed to speak 
out the thought which ruled him for the time being. Charles 
said as little as possible, and no one was commissioned to say 
much on his behalf. 

Besides the difficulty of knowing what had really been done, 
the Commons had made another difficulty for themselves by 
their resolution to spare the King. Again and again, in the 
course of their investigations, they reached the point in which 
Buckingham's acts ran into the acts of the King. In such a 
case silence was their only resource. They could not tell all 
they knew. 

The first charge was entrusted to Edward Herbert, one day 

to be the Attorney- General who took part in the impeachment 

of the five members. He spoke of the danger to the 

The first day . -,,,. 

of the i-n- State from the many offices held in one hand ; of 
the purchase of the Admiralty from Nottingham, and 
of the purchase of the Cinque Ports from Zouch. Selden had 
then to speak of the failure to guard the Narrow Seas, and of 
the detention of the ' St. Peter ' of Havre de Grace. To Glan- 
ville was entrusted the tale of the money exacted from the 
East India Company, and of the ships lent to serve against the 
Protestants of Rochelle. 

Can it be wondered that Buckingham, conscious of his 

superior knowledge, should smile as he heard each story, told 

only as these men were able to tell it ? Did he not 

Criticism . . T . , * r* i 

on these know that in paying money to Nottingham and Zouch 
he had only conformed to the general custom ? Could 
the failure to guard the seas be judged irrespectively of the 
wisdom of the other employment to which the ships had been 
destined in preference, or the exaction of money from the East 
India Company irrespective cf the share which James had had in 
the transaction ? To come to a true conclusion about the seizure 
of the ' St. Peter,' or the loan of the ships for Rochelle, it was 


necessary to know the whole truth about the relations between 
England and France ; and though the whole truth would have 
told even more against the Court than the charges brought by 
the Commons, Buckingham may perhaps be excused for think- 
ing more of the weakness of his opponents' case than of the 
weakness of his own. Still more had they missed the mark in 
charging him with the assumption of many offices in his own 
person. The Mastership of the Horse was a mere domestic 
office in the King's household. There was a direct advantage 
to the State in the accumulation of the Admiralty and the 
Wardenship of the Cinque Ports in the hands of one person. 
The real grievance was not that Buckingham nominally held 
three offices, but that, although he was incompetent for the task, 
he virtually controlled the action of the occupants of all other 

On May 10 the remainder of the charges were heard. This 
time the Duke absented himself from the House. Sherland 
May 10. declared that Buckingham had compelled Lord 
S f thetn* 7 R Dar tes to buy a peerage against his will. He had 
peachment. also sold the Treasurership to Manchester, and the 
Mastership of the Wards to Middlesex. Pym spoke effectively 
of the honours dealt out to Buckingham's poor kindred, entailing 
upon the Crown the necessity of supporting them. Buckingham 
had himself received from the Crown lands producing a rental of 
more than 3,ooo/., and ready money to the amount of upwards 
of i6o,ooo/., to say nothing of valuable grants of other kinds. 
What these grants were worth no man could discover ; for the 
accounts of the revenue were in such confusion that it was 
impossible to say how much had come into the Duke's hands by 
fictitious entries. One last charge remained, that of administer- 
ing medicine to the late King on his death- bed. Wentworth's 
friend, Wandesford, did not venture to allude to the rumours 
of poison, which were at that time generally credited ; but he 
justly characterised the act as one of ' transcendent presumption." 

That the facts thus disclosed deserved the most stringent 
investigation it is impossible to deny. On the other hand it 
must be remembered that the lavish grants of James to Bucking- 
ham and his kindred were a reproach rather to the giver than 


to the receiver, and, further, that the looseness of the manner in 
which the accounts were kept, which has been such as to baffle 
every serious investigator into the financial history of the time, 
is susceptible of another explanation than that which was given 
by Pym. Nothing can be asserted positively, but there is every 
reason to believe that the real accounts, if they were ever to be 
recovered, would tell more in Buckingham's favour than against 
him. Sums were paid into his hands, there can be little doubt, 
which were used by him not for his personal objects, but for the 
service of the State, or for purposes to which the King wished 
them to be applied. 1 

Reform, in short, was absolutely needed, a reform to which 
Need of t^ 6 expulsion of Buckingham from power would be 
reform. t ^ Q fi rst step Yet, with all his faults, the Buck- 
ingham of history is very different from the Buckingham of the 

1 This seems to have been the case with the money received from 
Manchester and Cranfield (Middlesex). Robartes's money was paid to 
Buckingham, but it does not follow that it was not used for the fleet or 
some other public object. See Robartes's petition, March (?) 1626, and the 
depositions of Robartes and Strode, S. P. Dom. xxiii. 1 18, Ixvii. 40, i. Thus, 
too. in Pym's charge we have a statement that amongst moneys employed 
for his own use, the Duke had the 6o,ooo/. , which were paid to Burlamachi on 
Oct. 7, 1625 (Laras 1 Journals, iii. 614). The Declared Accounts, Audit 
Office (Agents for Special Services, roll 3, bundle 5)> show us that 60,000!. 
was ordered to be paid to Burlamachi out of the Queen's portion money by 
a Privy Seal of August 5, and that of this, 52,3137. 15^. were paid before 
Michaelmas, 1625, and 6,3OO/. between Michaelmas and Easter, 1626. It 
also appears that Burlamachi was ' allowed for monies paid to the Duke of 
Buckingham, and such as 1 e appo'nted to receive the same for secret ser- 
vices, and by him issued, most part upon his warrants and the rest upon 
his verbal significations, as by several acquittances of those who received 
the same may appear, the sum of 18,689!. 13^.' Nothing can be loosei 
than this, but does it follow that the money was not employed by Bucking- 
ham upon the public service ? Pro! ably this is the same money as that 
mentioned in Buckingham's defe ice (Lords' Journals, iii. 666), as 58,8807. 
Of the sum there named, 26,coo/. is said to have been spent on the Navy, 
and the rest by his Majesty's directions Again, Buckingham stated that 
on the 1 5th and 28th of January, he received of free gift 5o,ooo/. ; but it 
was for the fleet, and that the 'Duke's name was only used for that his 
Majesty was not willing to have that intention publicly discovered at that 
time.' This seems a very probable explanation. 

1 626 ELIOT'S SUMMING UP. 103 

impeachment. Though it would go hard with him if he had 
to prove that he had any one qualification fitting him for the 
government of a great nation, he would have no difficulty in 
showing that much which had been said by the Commons was 
exaggerated or untrue. 

It remained to sum up the different charges, and to em- 
body the general feeling of the House in a few well-chosen 
Eliot sums words. To none could the task better be entrusted 
""P- than to Eliot, who above all others had urged on 

the preparation of the charges with unremitting zeal, and who 
believed, with all the energy of burning conviction, in the 
unutterable baseness of the man against whom he was leading 
the attack. The oratorical and imaginative temperament per- 
vaded the conclusions of Eliot's judgment. The half-measures 
and compromises of the world had no place in his mind. What 
was right in his eyes was entirely right ; what was wrong was 
utterly and irretrievably wrong. So too in his personal attach- 
ments and hatreds. Those whom he believed to be serving 
their country truly he loved with an attachment proof against 
every trial. Those whom he believed to be doing disservice to 
their country he hated with an exceeding bitter hatred. Such 
a nature as Buckingham's, with its mixture of meanness and 
nobility, of consideration for self and forgetfulness of self, of 
empty vanity and real devotion, was a riddle beyond his power 
to read. In his lofty ideal, in his high disdain for that which 
he regarded as worthless, in his utter fearlessness and disre- 
gard of all selfish considerations, Eliot was the Milton, as Bacon 
had been almost the Shakspere, of politics. 

The doctrine that the King's command relieved the subject 
from responsibility found no favour in Eliot's eyes. " My 
Eliot on re- I-ords," he said, in speaking of the loan of the ships 
*ponsibiiity. to serve against Rochelle, " I will say that if his 
Majesty himself were pleased to have consented, or to have 
commanded, which I cannot believe, yet this could no way 
satisfy for the Duke, or make any extenuation of the charge ; 
for it was the duty of his place to have opposed it by his 
prayers, and to have interceded with his Majesty to make 
known the dangers, the ill consequences, that might follow. 


And if this prevailed not, should he have ended here ? No ; 
he should then have addressed himself to your lordships, your 
lordships sitting in council, and there have made it known, 
there have desired your aids. Nor, if in this he sped not, 
should he have rested without entering before you a pro- 
testation for himself, and that he was not consenting. This 
was the duty of his place ; this has been the practice of his 
elders ; and this, being here neglected, leaves him without 

It was characteristic of Eliot to approach the subject from 
the moral rather than the political side. It was nothing to him 
that he was lightly dashing into ruin the whole scaffolding 
upon which the Tudor monarchy had rested the responsibility 
of ministers to the sovereign alone. He called upon every man 
to profess openly, in the eye of day, his personal conviction 
of right as the basis of action. With such a faith, whatever 
mistakes Eliot might commit in the immediate present, he had 
raised a standard for the future which could never be per- 
manently dragged in the dust. Not in fidelity to constitu- 
tional arrangements, not in obedience to the orders of a king 
or in obedience to the votes of a Parliament, lay the secret of 
political capacity. The ideal statesman was to be the man who 
had the open eye to discern his country's wants, the tongue to 
speak freely the counsel which his mind had conceived, and the 
heart and the resolution to suffer, if not to die, in the defence 
of his belief. 

To such a man as Eliot the faults of Buckingham his heed- 
lessness, his wanton profusion must have seemed infinitely 
Attack upon mean, altogether meaner than they really were. Buck- 
Jwm^ower m g nam ' s power, he said, was in itself a wonder ; it 
and wealth, needed a party to support it. To that end ' he raised 
and preferred to honours and commands those of his own 
alliance, the creatures of his kindred and affection, how mean 
soever.' Having thus got all power into his hands, he ' set upon 
the revenues of the Crown, interrupting, exhausting, and con- 
suming that fountain of supply.' " What vast treasures," cried 
Eliot, " he has gotten ; what infinite sums of money, and what a 
mass of lands ! If your lordships please to calculate, you will 


find it all amounting to little less than the whole of the subsidies 
\\hich the King hath had within that time. A lamentable 
example of the subjects' bounties so to be employed ! But 
is this all ? No ; your lordships may not think it. These 
are but collections of a short view, used only as an epi- 
tome for the rest. There needs no search for it ; it is too 
visible. His profuse expenses, his superfluous feasts, his mag 
nificent buildings, his riots, his excesses, what are they but 
the visible evidences of an express exhausting of the State, a 
chronicle of the immensity of his waste of the revenues of the 
Crown ? No wonder, then, our King is now in want, this man 
abounding so. And as long as he abounds the King must still 
be wanting." 

Worse was still to come. Eliot had to make reference to 
the administration of medicine to the late King, perhaps too 
Theadminis- m some covert way to the graver suspicions which 
medicine f to attached to that act even in the eyes of men who, like 
James. Bristol, had little sympathy with mere popular rumour. 
" Not satisfied," Eliot continued, " with the wrongs of honour, 
with the prejudice of religion, with the abuse of State, with the 
misappropriation of revenues, his attempts go higher, even to 
the person of his sovereign. You have before you his making 
practice on that, in such a manner and with such effect as I 
fear to speak it, nay, I doubt and hesitate to think it. In which 
respect I shall leave it, as Cicero did the like, ne gravioribus 
utar verbis quam naturafert, aut lei'ioribus quam causa postulat. 
The examination with your lordships will show you what it is. 
I need not name it. 

" In all these now your lordships have the idea of the man ; 
what in himself he is, and what in his affections. You have seen 
his power, and some, I fear, have felt it. What hopes or ex- 
pectations then he gives I leave it to your lordships. 
heto^ m ' I will now only see, by comparison with others, 
where I may find him paralleled or likened ; and, so 
considering what may now become him, from thence render 
your lordships to a short conclusion. 

" Of all the precedents I can find, none so near resembles 
him as doth Sejanus, and him Tacitus describes thus : that he 


was audax ; sui obtegens, in alias criminator ; jitxta adulatio 
et superbia. If your lordships please to measure him by this, 
Parallel with P rav see m what they vary. He is bold. We have 
Sejanus. nac } experience lately ; and such a boldness I dare 
be bold to say as is seldom heard of. He is secret in his pur- 
poses, and more ; that we have showed already. Is he a 
slanderer? Is he an accuser? I wish this Parliament had 
not felt it, nor that which was before. And for his pride and 
flattery, what man can judge the greater ? Thus far, I think, 
the parallel holds. But now, I beseech your lordships, look a 
little further. Of Sejanus it is likewise noted amongst hhi 
policies, amongst his arts, that, to support himself, he did dientes 
suos honoribus aut provinciis ornare. He preferred his clients 
to second, to assist him. And does this man do the like ? Is 
it not, and in the same terms, a special cause in our complaint 
now? Does not this kingdom, does not Scotland, does not 
Ireland speak it ? I will observe one thing more, and end. It 
is a note upon the pride of Sejanus, upon his high ambition, 
which your lordships will find set down by Tacitus. His 
solecisms, his neglect of counsels, his veneries, his venefices ; 
these I will not mention here : r only that particular of his 
pride, which thus I find. In his public passages 
and relations he would so mix his business with the 
prince's, seeming to confound their actions, that he was often 
styled laborum imperatoris socius. And does not this man do 
the like ? Is it not in his whole practice ? How often, how 
lately have we heard it ? Did he not, in this same place, in this 
very Parliament, under colour of an explanation for the King, 
before the committees of both Houses, do the same ? Have 
not your lordships heard him also ever mixing and confusing 
the King and the State, not leaving a distinction between them ? 
It is too, too manifest. 

" My Lords, I have done. You see the man. What have 
been his actions, whom he is like, you know. I leave him to 
your judgments." 

1 "Such expressions, "Mr. Forster observes, "could not of course have 
been directly applied to Buckingham. They are insinuated only through 
Sejanus. " 


Eliot had one other parallel to draw. " And now, my 
Lords," he said, "I will conclude with a particular censure 
Comparison given on the Bishop of Ely in the time of Richard I. 
Bisho th of That prelate had the King's treasures at his command, 
K 'y- and had luxuriously abused them. His obscure 

kindred were married to earls, barons, and others of great 
rank and place. No man's business could be done without his 
help. He would not suffer the King's council to advise in the 
highest affairs of State. He gave ignotis personis et obscuris the 
custody of castles and great trusts. He ascended to such a 
height of insolence and pride that he ceased to be fit for cha- 
racters of mercy. And therefore, says the record of which I 
now hold the original, per totam insulam publice prodametur, 
Pereat qui perdere cuncta festinat ; opprimatur ne omnes 
opprimat" ' 

Such was the terrible invective, glowing with the fire of 

inmost conviction, and strong with the roused indignation of 

an angry people collected into one burning focus, 

How far was , . , to } J 

this portrait which poured that day from the lips of the great 
orator. Much, if not all, that he said went true to 
the mark. The vanity and self-confidence of the man, the 
assumption of almost regal dignity, the immense wealth heaped 
up when the royal exchequer was drained of its last resources, 
were depicted with unerring accuracy. And yet the portrait, 
as a whole, was untrue to nature. It was false that Buckingham 
was a Sejanus. It was false that he had been guilty of sordid 
bribery. It was false that he had used the powers of govern- 
ment in his own hands simply for his own private ends, and not 
for that which for the time he believed to be the best interest 
of the State. 

If this is now plain to anyone who will carefully and 
dispassionately study the records of Buckingham's misdeeds, 
Anger of wnat must have been the effect of the speech upon 
Charles. Charles, who believed as implicitly in the wisdom as 
in the innocence of his minister, and who felt that he was him- 
self attacked through Buckingham. " If the Duke is Sejanus, '' 

1 Forste-, Sir J. Eliot, \. 324-330. 


he is reported to have said, "I must be Tiberius." 1 The next 
May it. day, in a speech prepared for him by Laud, he tried 
Seech tothe to enust ^e sympathies of the Peers in his favour. 
Lords. j n the attack upon Buckingham, he told them, their 
honour had been wounded. He had himself taken order for 
the punishment of the offenders. If he had not done so before, 
it was because Buckingham had begged that the impeachment 
might proceed, in order that his innocency might be shown. 
Of his innocency there could be no doubt whatever, ' for, as 
touching the occasions against him,' he could himself ' be a 
witness to clear him of every one of them.' 

It was only in words that Charles attempted to conciliate 

the Peers. Two days before they had petitioned for ' a gracious 

present answer' to their request for the liberation of 

abo\u nsv Arundel. At these words he had taken fire. " I did 

little look," he replied, " for such a message from 

the House, and did never kn">w such a message sent from the 

one House to the other. Therefore, when I receive n message 

fit to come from you to your sovereign, you shall receive an 


Before a reply could be given by the House, Sir Nathaniel 
Rich appeared, on behalf of the Commons, to ask that Bucking- 
The ham might be put under restraint during the im- 

de^d 15 peachment, a request with which the Lords refused 
Bucking- f or t ne present to comply, on the ground that the 

ham s im- . r J 

prisonment. charges against him had not yet been formally re- 
ported. But this concession to the Court, if concession it was, 
was more than counterbalanced by the reply returned to the 
King's message. As soon as it was understood that 

The Lords' _, , , ..... , , , . 

reply about Charles s special objection was to the demand of a 
e ' ' present answer,' Saye and Sele proposed that it 
should be explained to him that the word ' present ' only meant 
' speedy.' Manchester, catching at the suggestion, moved that 
the petition might be amended so as to ask for ' a gracious 
speedy answer.' "Leave out the word 'speedy' also," cried 

1 D'Ewes gives the words (ffarl. MSS. 383, fol. 32) apparently as part 
of the King's speech which follows in the text. But, though this seems to 
be incorrect, Charles may very likely have used the words in private. 


Buckingham. Yes, was the reply, but leave out the word 
' gracious ' too. The House accordingly voted that they would 
merely ask for 'your Majesty's answer.' ! 

It was but a little thing in itself, but it indicated plainly the 
temper into which the Lords had been brought. 

The claim of the King to imprison members during the 
session, maintained as yet in the face . of the Lords, was to 
receive a more daring application in the face of the 
mentof Eliot Commons. When Rich returned after delivering 
igges. j^ s messa g e ^ h e f oun( j the Lower House in great 
commotion. It was discovered that neither Eliot nor Digges 
were in their places, and on inquiry it appeared that they had 
been sent for to the door, and had been hurried off to the 
Tower. Shouts of Rise ! Rise ! sounded on all sides. In vain 
Pym, not yet aware of the true state of the case, 2 did his best 
to quiet the tumult. The House broke up in discontent In 
the afternoon an informal assembly gathered in Westminster 
Hall, and serious words were interchanged on this unexpected 
attack upon the liberties of Parliament. 

The next morning, when the Speaker rose, as usual, at the 
commencement of business, he was at once interrupted. " Sit 
May 12. down ! " was the general cry. " No business till we 
SfendTthe are righted in our liberties." Carleton attempted to 
King. defend his master's conduct. He had much to say 

of the tartness of Eliot's language. But the main offence, both 
of Digges and Eliot, was that they had pressed ' the death of 
his late Majesty, whereas the House had only charged the 
Duke with presumption.' Eliot had hinted that more had taken 
place than he dared to speak of. Digges had even suggested 
that the present King had had a hand in his father's murder. 
In speaking of the plaister given to James, he had added, 'that 
he would therein spare the honour of the King.' It was for 
the House to consider whether they had authorised such a 

1 Rising's Notes. 

z Which shouts 'Mr. Pym, not well understanding, stood up,' &c. 
Meade to Stuteville, May 13, Harl. MSS. 390, fol. 57. This seems 
more likely than that Pym should have objected, if he had known whai 


charge as this. The two members, in short, were punished as 
having gone beyond the directions of the House. 

Carleton had something yet more startling to add. " I 
beseech you, gentlemen, he said, " move not his Majesty with 
trenching upon his prerogatives, lest you bring him out of love 
with Parliaments. In his message he hath told you that if 
there were not correspondency between him and you, he should 
be enforced to use new counsels. Now I pray you to consider 
what these new counsels are, and may be. I fear to declare 
those that I conceive. In all Christian kingdoms you know 
that Parliaments were in use anciently, until the monarchs 
began to know their own strength ; and, seeing the turbulent 
spirit of their Parliaments, at length they, by little and little, 
began to stand upon their prerogatives, and at last overthrew 
the Parliaments throughout Christendom, except here only with 
us." Then he went on to speak of the scenes which he had 
lately witnessed in France, of the peasants looking like ghosts 
rather than men, of their scanty covering and wooden shoes, 
as well as of the heavy taxation imposed upon them. " This," 
he ended by saying, " is a misery beyond expression, and that 
which yet we are free from." l 

With great difficulty the Commons were restrained from 
calling Carleton to the bar. The danger with which they had 
been threatened was, in their opinion, best met by a 
th e s com- firm pursuance of the course which they had already 
chosen. On the one hand they ordered a protest 
to be signed by every member disclaiming all part in the imputa- 
tion upon the King in relation to his father's death, which had 
been attributed to Digges. On the other hand they prepared a 
vindication of their own liberties to be laid before Charles. 2 

Carleton's speech had neither made nor deserved to make 
the slightest impression ; but it was not, as it is usually repre- 

1 Though no country is named, I have no doubt that his last visit to 
France was intended. Such scenes were not to be witnessed amongst 
Dutch or Venetian peasants. Besides, the subsequent words about men 
taxed to the King, show what Carleton was thinking of. 

7 Rush-worth^ i. 360. 


sented, either ridiculous or illogical. If it had been possible 
to grant his premisses, and to allow that the Com- 
Carieton's mons were factiously taking advantage of the danger 
s peec . Q t^ejj. country to advance their own position in the 
State, Carleton's warnings might well have been listened to 
with respect, in their substance, if not in their form. There is 
no law of nature to save Parliaments any more than kings, 
when they forget the interests of the nation which they are 
appointed to protect. If Carleton and his master were in the 
wrong, it was because whatever mistakes the Commons might 
have committed, the interests of the nation were safer in their 
hands than in those of the King. 

If Charles erred in his general view of the case, it soon 
appeared that he was no less wrong in his knowledge of the 
M particular circumstances. As soon as the report 

The Lords of the proceedings at the Conference was read in the 
Digges's Upper House it was seen that, if that report could be 
trusted, Digges had said something different from 
that which was alleged against him. Buckingham, however, 
was not satisfied. With a warmth which may easily be excused 
in a man against whom a charge of having poisoned his bene- 
factor had been brought, he protested his own innocence, and 
then expressed an opinion that the report was not altogether 
correct. Manchester, by whom that portion of the report had 
been drawn up, admitted that, as his notes had been rapidly 
taken, he had afterwards consulted Digges on their accuracy, 
and that Digges had ' mollified ' the wording. According to 
the notes, Digges had said that he wished ' not to reflect upon 
the person either of the dead or of the present King.' That is 
to say, cried Buckingham, ' on the dead King touching point of 
government ; upon this King touching the physic.' A protest 
was at once raised by North and Devonshire. "This," added 
Saye, "may trench on all our loyalties." Each Peer, it was 
then suggested, should be called upon to declare whether he 
had heard anything ' that might be interpreted treason.' In 
spite of an interruption from Buckingham, that he wanted 
Digges's words, not his meaning, Saye rose and protested that 
Digges had not spoken the words alleged, nor did he con- 


ceive that he had the intention ascribed to him. The great 
majority of the Peers followed Saye's example. A few only, on 
various grounds, refused to make the declaration. In the end, 
thirty-six Peers, Buckingham's brother-in-law Denbigh amongst 
them, signed a protest that Digges had said nothing contrary 
to the King's honour. 

Before they parted, the Peers took another step in opposi- 
tion. They replied to the King's message urging that to allow 

Bristol the use of counsel was contrary to the funda- 
co'msei for mental laws of the realm, by respectfully assuring 

him that he was altogether mistaken. On the other 
question of the King's right to tender evidence against a sub- 

ject, which had been referred to the judges, Charles 

ay I3 ' himself had already seen fit to waive his pretensions 

for the present. He had directed the judges to give no reso- 

lution on that point, ' not knowing how dangerous it may be 

for the future.' l 

After what had passed in the Lords, it was impossible to 
keep Digges any longer in the Tower, and the next morning he 

reappeared in his usual place. Charles could not 

May 16. 

Digges be so easily induced to relax his hold upon Eliot, 
released. spirit of the attack upon his government. 

If he should plead the precedents of Elizabeth's reign, he 
would none the less find in the Commons the same 

New ground ,. .. ..... - . 1111 

taken in bitter opposition which his treatment of Arundel had 
Eliot s case. ra j se( j j n ^g L or cl S- It seemed to him better to evade 
the difficulty ; and, dropping the original complaint, he ordered 
Weston to acquaint the Commons that Eliot was charged ' with 
things extrajudicial to the House.' Weston, who was 
Weston's ex- directed by the Commons to inquire what was the 
pianauons. meanm g o f the word ' extrajudicial,' informed them 
that Eliot's crimes had been committed out of the House. 

It was not likely that the Commons would be beguiled by 
so transparent a subterfuge. The feeling of the House was 
unmistakeable. In vain Carleton urged that they should clear 
Eliot of all that he had done as a member, and ask the King to 

1 Rising's Notes. 1624-1626, p. 193 ; Lords' Journals, iii. 627. 

1626 ELIOT 'S RELEASE. 113 

release him out of favour to themselves. It was the very ihing 
which they absolutely refused to do. They were well aware 
that a member might have done things which no Parliamentary 
privilege could coyer. He might have committed high treason, 
or highway robbery ; but they wished to have an opportunity 
of judging for themselves whether anything so unlikely had 
The Com- really happened. When, therefore, Carleton, pushed 
^TcUhlir to the wau "> entreated them to give his Majesty time 
sittings. t o prove his accusation, they at once complied with 
his request and suspended their sittings till the iptk It is 
hardly likely that anyone present took Charles's explanations 
seriously. "The King," wrote one of the members to a friend, 
in speaking of Eliot's imprisonment, "hath sent him to the 
Tower for some words spoken in Parliament, but we are all 
resolved to have him out again, or will proceed to no busi- 
ness." l 

Charles, in fact, had still to discover the charges upon 
which he had elected to take his stand. That Eliot had been 
Ma ig instigated by Blainville to prefer the complaints 
Fresh relating to the ' St. Peter' was too probable a solution 

agamst* of all that had passed not to present itself to him ; 
but it was a long step from mere suspicion to actual 
evidence. In vain Eliot's study was searched for proof. In 
vain Eliot was himself subjected to an examination. Not one 
scrap of evidence was producible to show that the slightest 
intercourse between him and the ambassador had ever taken 
place. Charles had forgotten that the very imperfect manner 
in which that part of the charge against Buckingham had been 
produced was in itself the strongest evidence that the French 
ambassador had not been consulted. With Blainville's assist- 
ance Eliot would have drawn up a far more telling case than 
he had succeeded in doing. 

There was therefore nothing for it but to set 

May 19. 

Eliot Eliot at liberty. When the Commons re-assembled 

x ' they were informed by Carleton that his imprisonment 

was at an end. The House, however, was not to be so easily 

1 Forster, Sir J. Eliot, i. 561. 


contented. The next morning Carleton was compelled to go 

over one bv one the objections which he had originally taken 

to the epilogue delivered before the Lords. With a mixture 

May 20. of sarcasm and pleasantry, Eliot answered them in 

and cleared deta j L Q ne reply waj . pecu li ar l y fglicitOUS. He had 

House. been accused of speaking slightingly of the Duke as 
'the man.' The word, he answered, had been commonly 
applied to Alexander and Caesar, 'which were not less than he.' 
It was therefore no dishonour to the Duke to be so called, 
' whom yet he thinketh not to be a god.' In the end, both 
Eliot and Digges were unanimously cleared of the imputations 
brought against them. 

The attempt and its failure were alike characteristic of 
Charles. Prone to act upon impulse, he had been thrown off his 
Charles's balance by the suggestion, which the words reported 
failure. ^ Q fa m see med to convey, that he had himself been 
implicated in his father's murder. Taking it for granted that 
the facts were as he supposed them to be, taking it for granted 
too that he had the right, by the precedents of Elizabeth's 
reign, to punish the offenders, he had been startled when the 
House of Lords denied his facts, and the House of Commons 
denied his right. The whole opposition of the protesting 
Lords and the sternly resolute Commons which started up be- 
fore him, was thoroughly unprovided for in his plan of action. 
Like an inexperienced general who has forgotten to allow for 
the independent action of the enemy, he had no resource but 
to take refuge in the first defence which offered itself as a 
means of prolonging the contest. The new device shivered in 
his hands, and he stood unarmed and discredited in the face 
of the nation. 

In the House of Lords, too, the tide was running strongly 

against his hopes. Already he had been driven to withdraw 

his pretension to deprive Bristol of the help of 

Bristol's case counsel ; and as soon as the accused Earl had had 

m the Lords. ^^ Q ^ Q ^ r j n g j n n j s answer to the charges against 

him, the Lords warmly took up cheir claim to see Arundel 
restored to their House. Nor was it only the exclusion of 
their members that they dreaded. Grandison had just been 


created Baron Tregoze in the English Peerage, and Carleton 
had been snatched away from the assaults of the 
champion of the Commons to sit on the benches of 
the Upper House as Lord Carleton of Imberville. The inde- 
pendent Lords regarded these promotions as a preliminary to 
an attempt to pack, the House by a creation on a far larger 
scale, and some were even heard to suggest the extreme 
measure of depriving the new Peers of their votes till the end 
of the session. 1 

In vain, therefore, Charles alleged, as he had alleged against 

Eliot, that he had fresh charges to bring against 

Liberation of Arundel. The Peers would listen to no excuses. 

On June 5 the Earl recovered his entire liberty, 2 and 

on the 8th he was in his place amongst the Peers. 

May 24. In the meanwhile the Commons had been busy 

pwuidaze* 11 ' 5 rem f rcm g tne ' r attack upon Buckingham by a simul- 
deciared ii- taneous declaration of the illegality of the collection 
granted by of tonnage and poundage, unless voted by them- 
selves, and of their own readiness to settle an ample 
revenue upon the King if he would conform to their wishes. 

Before long, however, an incident occurred which must 

have convinced the most reluctant that it was in vain to hope 

May 28. that either fear or persuasion would induce the 

The Cam- King to abandon Buckingham. On May 28 Suffolk 

Bridge Chan- J 

ceiiorship. died, leaving the Chancellorship of the University of 
Cambridge vacant. " I would Buckingham were Chancellor," 
said Charles, when he heard the news. The idea took firm 
possession of his mind, and the next morning a chaplain of 
the Bishop of London 3 carried to Cambridge an intimation 
of the royal pleasure. The Bishop himself soon followed ; 
and the whole party which had seen with displeasure the con- 
tinued attacks of the Commons upon Montague and his book 
rallied round the Duke. The Masters of Trinity, of Peter- 

1 Joachimi to the States-General, Jj^-, Add. MSS. 17,677 L, 
fol. 225. 

* Conway to Arundd, June 5, S. P. Dom. Addenda 
' i.e. Bishop Montaigne ; not Laud, as Mr. Forster stated by an ova- 


house, and of Clare Hall used all their influence in his favour ; 
and the influence of the Head of a house, who thought more 
of the object to be gained than of his own character for im- 
partiality, was no slight weight in the scale. Yet, discouraging 
as the prospects of the Calvinists were, they chose at the last 
moment a candidate in the person of the Earl of Berkshire, 
the second son of the late Chancellor ; and so strong was their 
party numerically, that though there was no time to obtain 
assurance of their candidate's consent, they secured no less than 
June t. 103 votes in his favour. Buckingham, it was true, 
Hu e c C k!n n - f ODtame d 1 08 ; but it was known that many had 
ham. voted for him sorely against their wishes, and it was 

whispered amongst Berkshire's supporters that, even as it was, 
an impartial scrutiny would have converted their opponents' 
victory into a defeat 1 

Deep offence was taken by the Commons at this new 

Junes. honour conferred upon a man whom they had 

^f'th^cT'm 6 Barged with holding too many offices already. 

mons. Venturing upon unsafe ground, they resolved to 

send for a deputation from the University and to demand an 

account of the election, a resolution which was met 

by positive orders from the King to proceed no 

further in that direction, as the University was entitled to elect 

anyone it pleased. 2 The reply of the House was 

the conversion of the remonstrance upon freedom 

from arrest into a general statement of grievances. 

On the day when this new appeal to the King was to be 
drawn up, Buckingham laid his defence before the Lords. 
Prepared, it is said, by Nicholas Hyde, in all pro- 
ha U m's' nR bability under Heath's supervision, and submitted 
to the friendly criticism of Laud, 3 the Duke's an- 
swer displayed no common ability. Rebutting as with their 

1 Meade to Stuteville, June 3, Ellis, ser. i, iii. 228. Certain Considera- 
tions, &c., Harl. MSS. 161, fol. 134. 

to Meade, June 9, Harl. MSS. 390, fol. 73. 

1 Of Laud's part there is no doubt. See S. P. Dom. xxvii. 25. Hyde's 
part we learn from Whitelocke 's Memorials, 8. For Heath, see the King's 
warrant to assist Buckingham, S. P. Dom. Addenda. 


superior knowledge its authors were well able to do many of 
the accusations, in the form at least in which they had been 
brought, they were able tp assert that in other respects the 
Duke had either acted by the King's orders, or that, if he 
had gone wrong, he had done so either from inadvertence or 
through compliance with customs already established when he 
came to Court. " Who accused me ? " said Buckingham 
" Common fame. Who gave me up to your Lordships ? The 
House of Commons. The one is too subtle a body, if a body ; 
the other too great for me to contest with. Yet I am confident 
neither the one nor the other shall be found my enemy when 
my cause comes to be tried." 

The confidence thus expressed was doubtless a genuine 

expression of feeling. Buckingham could not hope to have 

the issue tried on more favourable ground. He 

ham's'con- knew that he had witnesses to prove that on many 

important points the Commons had been in error ; l 

and he had only to close his eyes to the political antagonism 

which he had aroused, to imagine that an acquittal would be 

the probable termination of the affair. 

The news, however, that the Commons had embarked upon 
a general remonstrance cannot have been without effect even 
upon Buckingham. To Charles it must have been absolutely 
decisive. Believing as he did that his minister was the victim 
of a factious combination, he had submitted to wait till the 
worthlessness of the evidence against him had been proved ; 
but if the Commons were about to demand that, whether their 
charges were proved or not, he should dismiss his minister, he 
June 9 . would only be strengthened in his opinion that the 
The King honour of his crown was at stake. He therefore 


supply. peremptorily demanded that, happen what might, 
the Subsidy Bill should be passed before the end of the follow- 
ing week. If it were not, he should be forced 'to use other 
resolutions.' 2 

1 Nicholas, for instance, seems, fiom the notes prepared by him (S. /'. 
Dom. xxvii, 105-111), to have been ready to tell the truth, and to call upon 
Pennington to tell the truth, about the ships lent to the French. 

2 Lords Journals, iii. ^7O. 


Before the Royal message was taken into consideration, 

the Commons took a further step, which indicated plainly 

June io. enough the spirit by which they were animated. 

Furthersteps They ordered the committee to which the framing 

of the Com- . / 

mons. of the remonstrance had been entrusted to send for 

the Parliament roll containing the declaration made by Buck 
ingham after his return from Spain, and to require the young 
Lord Digby, by whom his father's charges against the Duke 
had formerly been communicated to the House, to prove, if he 
June 9 . was a ble, that Parliament had been abused on that 
Bristol's case occasion. ' On the previous day the Lords had given 

taken up by . . . ',,.',. 

the Lords, a similar indication of their feeling by ordering the 
Attorney-General to take charge of Bristol's case, so as to give 
to it those official advantages which had been accorded to the 
King's accusations. 

The Commons probably intended to incorporate Bristol's 

charges in their remonstrance ; but time pressed, and it was 

doubtful whether, if they embarked upon such a 

June 12. 

The re- work, they would be allowed to finish it. The ques- 
t^precede e tion which they met to discuss on the morning of the 
supply. i2th was whether the remonstrance or the supply 
should be presented first. After a long and stormy debate, a 
large majority voted that the remonstrance should have the 
precedence. 2 

From the ground thus taken up by the Commons it would 

in the long run be found impossible to drive them. After 

running over the charges which they had brought 

Substance of . , , , . . 

theremon- against the Duke, they expressed their reprobation 
of those new counsels which had been held before 
their eyes by Carleton, and denied that tonnage and poundage 
could be lawfully raised without their consent. Then, turning 
upon Buckingham, they declared that the articles which they 
had sent up to the Lords were not the measure of their objec- 
tions to his 'excessive and abusive power.' These they had 

1 Common? Journals, i. 870. Digby may be a slip for Bristol ; but the 
young lord, having presented his father's complaint, had a locus standi 
before the House. 

* Meddus to Meade, June 16, Court and Tint's, i. no. 


been ' enforced to insist upon, as matters ' lying under their 
' notice and proof ; ' but, beyond them, they believed him to 
be an enemy to both Church and State. It was therefore 
grievous to them to find that he had ' so great power and interest 
in ' the King's ' princely affections,' so as, under his Majesty, 
' wholly in a manner to engross to himself the administration 
of the realm, 'which by that means .is drawn into a condition 
most miserable and hazardous.' They therefore begged that 
he would remove the Duke from his presence, and would not 
' balance this one man with all these things and with the affairs 
of the Christian world, which all do suffer, so far as they have 
relation to this kingdom, chiefly by his means.' 

"For we protest," they went on to say, "before your 
Majesty and the whole world, that until this great person be 
removed from intermeddling with the great affairs of State, we 
are out of hope of any good success ; and do fear that any 
money we shall or can give will, through his misemployment, 
be turned rather to the hurt and prejudice of this your king- 
dom than otherwise, as by lamentable experience we have 
found in those large supplies formerly and lately given." 

The Commons, in short, had again taken up the position 
which they had occupied at the close of the Oxford meeting, 
what this They would give no money where they could place 
implied. no confidence. No impartial reader of the long 
story of the mishaps of the Government can deny that they 
were thoroughly in the right in refusing their confidence to 
the man who was mainly responsible for these misfortunes. 

In one respect indeed the Commons were slow to perceive 
the whole consequence of their change of position. If they 
had been able to substantiate the criminal charges which they 
had brought against Buckingham, if they could have proved 
him to be false, corrupt, and venal, Charles could have parted 
with him without loss of honour. To ask the King to abandon 
his minister on the ground that the Commons could not trust 
him, though the acts at which they took umbrage had been 
done, always nominally and often really, by the authority of 
Charles, was to ask him to surrender himself as well as Buck- 
ingham. Neither Elizabeth noi even his father had allowed 


anyone to dictate the choice of counsellors. If the advisers of 
the Crown and the officers of State were to be accepted or 
dismissed at the will of the House of Commons, the supremacy 
of that House would soon be undisputed. Would such a 
change carry with it merely a constitutional re-arrangement? 
Could a popular body form a government? Would not anarchy 
and confusion ensue to the nation, personal danger to the King? 
To yield now might be to launch the barque of Royalty without 
chart or compass on that sea of violence and intrigue which 
was to be descried by the anxious king in those annals of the 
Middle Ages to which the Commons so cheerfully appealed. 
To him the precedents of Eliot spoke not of justice executed, 
but of riot and disorder. " Let us sit upon the ground," they 
seemed to say, 

" And tell sad stories of the death of kings : 
How ome have been deposed, some slain in war, 
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed, 
Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed, 
All murdered." 

To acknowledge Buckingham's responsibility was indirectly 
to acknowledge his own. Where was that to end ? Perhaps it 
was too late for him now to learn a better way, and to discern 
that alike behind the despotism of the Tudors and the violence 
of the Middle Ages a deeper principle had been at work a 
principle which called upon rulers to guide, and not to force, 
the national will. Precedents might be quoted for almost any 
iniquity on either side ; but the great precedent of all, from 
which all worthy precedents received their value, the tradition 
of a healthy national life handed down by father to son from 
the remotest days, was guarded in the heart of the English 
nation by defences against which Charles would dash himself 
in vain. 

The King's choice was soon made. As he had said earlier 

in the session, he would give liberty of counsel, not of control. 

In vain Heath, with lawyer-like appreciation of the 

A dissolution weakness of the articles of impeachment, pleaded 

solved on. jj ar( j f or d e i a y. j n V ain the Peers begged earnestly 

for a prolongation of the situation by which they were consti- 


tuted supreme arbitrators between the nation and the Crown. 
To their urgent entreaty that Charles would grant them but 

two days more, he replied impatiently, " Not a 
Thedissoiu- minute." On June 15 the Parliament of 1626 ceased 

to exist. 1 

" Let compounds be dissolved." * The words with which 
Wotton had closed the epitaph of the great philosopher and 
Future of the statesman who had passed away from his earthly work 
constitution. a i m ost unnoticed amidst the contentions of the 
session now brought to a close, might fitly be inscribed over 
the tomb of the constitutional theories which Bacon had striven 
hard to realise. The King and the House of Commons no 
longer formed constituent parts of one body. On either side 
new counsels would prevail. The King would demand to be 
sole judge of the fitness of his own actions, and to compel the 
nation to follow him whithersoever he chose to lead. Parlia- 
ment would grasp at the right of control as well as the right of 
counsel, and would discover that the responsibility of ministers 
could only be secured by enforcing the responsibility of kings. 
At last, after a terrible struggle, teeming alike with heroic 
examples and deeds of violence, a new harmony would be 
evolved out of the ruins of the old. 

1 Heath to Buckingham, June 14 (?), S. P. Dom. Addenda. Lords' 
Journals, iii. 682. to Meade, June 15, Harl. MSS. 390, fol. 776. 
* " Coniposita dissohianlitr." 




IN trying the effect of those 'new counsels' with which the 
Commons had been so often threatened, Charles, it may be 

safely said, had no intention of deliberately treading 
Newcoun- under foot the laws of England. Holding, as he 

did, that a few factious men had preferred their own 
ambitious schemes to the welfare of the country, he believed 
himself to be justified in putting forth for a time the powers of 
that undefined prerogative which was given him for use in 
special emergencies when the safety of the nation was at stake. 
Charles's first thought was to issue a proclamation for the 
establishing of the peace and quiet of the Church of England. 
Tune 16 ^ n April 1 1 Pym had reported to the Lower House 
Prociama- a long string of charges against Montague, 1 and, if 
peacof the time could have been found before the dissolution, 
urc his impeachment would doubtless have followed. In 

his proclamation Charles spoke of ' questions and opinions ' 
lately broached in matters of doctrine, 'which at first only being 
meant against the Papists, but afterwards by the sharp and in- 
discreet handling and maintaining by some of either parts, 
have given much offence to the sober and well-grounded readers 
and hearers of these late written books on both sides, which 
may justly be feared will raise some hopes in the professed 
enemies of our religion, the Romish Catholics, that by degrees 
the professors of our religion may be drawn into schism, and 
after to plain Popery.' 

1 Faws'ey Delates, App. 179. 


Charles's remedy for the evil was to reduce both parties to 
silence. No new opinions were to be introduced by tongue 
or pen ; no innovation to be allowed in Church or State. As 
both Pym and Montague claimed to set forth the original doc- 
trine of the Church of England, it was not unlikely they would 
both interpret the proclamation in their own favour. It was, 
however, probable that those who carried it into execution would 
interpret it in favour of Montague rather than of Pym. 1 

The next day a fresh proclamation was issued ordering the 

destruction of all copies of the remonstrance of the Commons. 2 

June 17. Charles, however, took care not to inflict the slightest 

in h theRe^ Ils P un ishment upon the offending members of either 

monstrance. House, with the exception of Bristol and Arundel ; 

and he might fairly argue that if the two obnoxious Peers had 

committed faults at all, they were faults which had nothing 

to do with their position as members of the House of Lords. 

Arundel was therefore relegated to confinement in 

Commitment , . . , n . , , 

of Bristol and his own house,* 5 and Bristol was sent to the Tower, to 
prepare for a Star Chamber prosecution. If wrong 
was done, the wrong did not this time take the shape of a breach 
of privilege. 

It was Charles's intention that Buckingham was still to be 
allowed, in spite of the dissolution, to bring his defence to a 
Bucking- triumphant issue. Heath was accordingly directed 
ha be SC?! d to rec l uest *he managers of the impeachment to carry 
the star on their case before the Star Chamber. 4 The plan 
broke down in consequence of the steady refusal of 

June 19. 

The Pariia- the managers to have anything to do with the matter, 
managers " We," Eliot answered in their name, "entreat you to 
plrtTn the ke ta ^ e knowledge that whatsoever was done by us in that 
trial business was done by the command of the House of 

Commons, and by their directions some proofs were delivered 
to the Lords with the charges, but what other proofs the House 
would have used, according to the liberty reserved to themselves, 

1 Kymer, xviii. 719. 2 Ibid. 721. 

Salvetti's News-Letter, Tune ^. 

4 Heath to Eliot and others, June 17 ; Forster, Sir J. Eliot, i. 350. 


either for the maintenance of their charge or upon their reply, 
June 20. we neither know nor can undertake to inform you.'* 
fence of d their The next da Y Eliot was pressed to give a better an- 
refusai. swer. " My first knowledge and intelligence," he 
replied, " happening in Parliament, after discharge of mine own 
particular duties to the House, I remitted to that again wholly 
the memory and consideration thereof." It was no private 
charge which he had brought. The accusation had sprung from 
the House of Commons, and if the King wished it to be carried 
further, he must provide for the resuscitation of Parliament. 
Charles, however, thought that he could carry on the accusation 
without having recourse to so formidable an instrument. The 
charges were formally repeated and formally answered, and the 
Star Chamber gave a sentence in favour of the Duke which 
inspired no confidence in anyone who was not already con- 
vinced of his innocence. ' 

Such sentences were easily obtainable. It was less easy to 
provide money for the war which Charles was resolved to carry 

on. A loan of ioo,ooo/., on the security of the Crown 
refuses' a jewels, was demanded from the City; but the City 

firmly refused to lend, and it was only upon strong 
pressure from the King himself that the aldermen agreed per- 
sonally to provide him with the fifth part of the sum named. 2 

More general measures were required if the Exchequer was 
to be filled. For some time rumours of a Spanish force gathering 
in the ports of Biscay had been rife in England, and Charles 
was well content to make more of these rumours than they 
were really worth. To meet the danger, a fleet of a hundred sail 
June 15. was to be brought together to guard the coast, and 
Plan for another fleet of forty sail, with the assistance of a 

asking the * . 

freeholders Dutch contingent, was to seek out the enemy in his 
subsidies. own harbours. 3 In order to find means to support 
so large an expenditure, Charles's first thought had been to 

1 Forster, Sir J. Eliot, i. 350. 

2 Rudyerd to Nethersole, July 9, S. P. Dom. xxxi. 39. Salvetti's 

News-Letters, J-"-5-l, July -. to Meade, Tune 30, Court and Times, 

' July 10 J ] 17 

i. 116. 

* Rusdorf to Oxenstjerna, June 15, Mem. ii. 190. 


order the sheriffs to assemble the freeholders in the several 
counties, and to take their votes for a direct grant of the subsidies 
to which a factious Parliament had refused to agree. 1 The project 
was, however, abandoned in this hazardous form, and on July 7 
letters were despatched to all justices of the peace, 
AfreTgiit bidding them to acquaint their counties with the 
proposed. requirements of the State, and to exhort them that, 
as the House of Commons had judged four subsidies to be 
needed for the defence of the country, they should, in a case ol 
such necessity, be a law tc themselves, and should lovingly, 
freely, and voluntarily supply that which might have been levied 
by law if the Act had passed. 2 In order to show that, in calling 
on his subjects for contributions, he did not intend to spare his 
own courtiers, Charles gave orders that, for two years to come, 
no suits involving any charge on the revenue should be brought 
before him. 3 

If Charles was to extract money directly from his subjects' 

purses it was necessary for him to go through the form of 

Julys. asking their consent. Tonnage and poundage, ac- 

Tonnage and cor dmg to the view taken by the Crown lawyers, could 

poundage to J . J 

be levied. be levied without any such formality. Once more, 
as after the dissolution at Oxford, orders were given to continue 
the collection of the duties, the King declaring that he could 
not do without them, and that they must therefore be gathered 
in till Parliament had leisure to make the usual arrangements. 4 
Almost at the moment when Charles was appeal- 
jusiicesof ing to the people for a free gift, he purified the Com- 
the peace. m i ss i on o f the Peace by the dismissal of those persons 
who were likely to oppose that measure. Eliot and Phelips, 

1 Intended Proclamation, June 15, S. P. Dom. xxx. 2. 

* The King to the Justices, July 7, ibid. xxxi. 30, 31. The official 
view of these proceedings is expressed in a letter from Sir John Coke. " His 
Majesty," writes the Secretary, "had sought his assistance, resolving 
to take no violent or extraordinary way to levy monies, but in a common 
danger to rely upon a common care and affection, that all men must have that 
will not wilfully be guilty of abandoning their religion, Prince, and country, 
to the enemy's power. " Coke to Brooke, July 2, Melboui ne MSS. * Ibid. 

4 Act of Council, July 8, Council Register. Commission, July 26, 
Rymer, xviii. 737. 


Seymour and Alford, Mansell and Digges ceased to bear the 

honours of justice of the peace in their respective 

amongst counties. On the list of those judged unworthy 

to serve the Crown stands the name of Sir Thomas 

Wentworth, once more associated with those of the leaders of 

the Opposition, as it had been upon the sheriffs' list the year 

before. l 

A Government which could alienate men so opposed to one 
another as Eliot and Wentworth must indeed have gone far 
Position of astray. Eliot's course in the last Parliament was 
Wentworth. too decided to call for any additional explanation of 
the causes which made all further co-operation between him 
and Buckingham impossible. Wentworth stood on a very 
different footing with the Court. He was himself longing to 
enter the service of the Crown, and his frequent overtures 
to the governing powers have exposed him to the suspicion 
of those who misunderstand alike his character and his 

The reforming spirit was strong in Wentworth. To him 
England was a stage on which there was much to be done, 
Wentworth man y abuses to be overthrown, many interested and 
a reformer, ignorant voices to be silenced. Since the days when 
Bacon had been a member of the House of Commons no man's 
voice had been raised so frequently in favour of new legislation, 
legislation was the only mode in which, as a member of the 
House of Commons, he could proceed to action. There could 
be little doubt, however, that he would prefer a shorter course. 
His desire Power in his own hands would be very welcome to 
for power. n j mj f rom whatever quarter it came. At first he was 
content to a>K for local authority in his native Yorkshire. He 
had long ago driven his rival Sir John Savile from the post of 

1 Wentworth's name is happily on the list in Coventry's letter to the 
Clerk of the Crown, July 8 (Harl. MSS. 286, fol. 297), from which I have 
at last, after giving up the search entirely, been able to recover the date of 
his dismissal, and to bring the fact into connection with the known events 
of history. The list contains fifteen names for ten counties. It is mani- 
festly imperfect, as we learn that Phelips was also dismissed from the Hist. 
MSS. Commission Reports, iii. 182. 


Custos Rotulorum of the West Riding. Having that dignity 
in his hands, he had, during the last years of James, been con- 
stantly seeking for higher employment. 

A courtier in the ordinary sense of the word Wentworth 
never was, never by any possibility could become. He could 
not learn like the Conways and the Cokes, to bear a patron's 
yoke. Whatever his heart conceived his mouth would speak. 
In any position occupied by him he was certain to magnify 
his office. If he had been in Becket's place he would have 
striven for the King as Chancellor, and for the Church as Arch- 
bishop. As a member of the Commons in 1621 

Wentworth . . , , ,, . . T , ,. 

m earlier he had rebelled against James s attempt to refuse to 
Parliaments. the assembly of which he f orme d a part the right of 

giving counsel to its sovereign. In 1624 the tide of affairs 
seemed to have stranded him for ever. To his mind the King 
and the nation appeared to have gone mad together. What side 
was he to choose when all England rushed with one consent into 
war with Spain ? All war, unless it were a war of defence, was 
hateful to Wentworth. He would leave the Continent to itself, 
to fight its own battles. England, he thought, had enough to 
do within her own borders. Whilst Buckingham was planning 
fantastic schemes, and Coke and Phelips were cheering him on 
to shed the blood of Englishmen like water, Wentworth could 
but stand aside and wait till the excitement had run its course, 
and till there was again time to think of legislation and reform 
lor England. 

In 1625 the tide had begun to ebb. If Wentworth had 
little sympathy with the leaders of the Opposition, yet his place 
,625. was naturally by their side. Yet, if he was ready to 
He opposes j o j n them in refusing or paring down the supplies 
ham, which Buckingham needed for the war, he joined 

them as one who would gladly be spared the task of resisting 
the wishes of his sovereign. 

Wentworth, in short, was with the Opposition, but not of it 
Charles acknowledged the difference between his resistance and 
that of Seymour and Phelips. Though he took care to include 
him in the penal list of sheriffs, he spoke of him with kindness, as 
one who might yet be won. Wentworth justified the preference. 


His objection was not against Charles's system of government, 
but against the policy pursued by the King and his minister, 
but is not Consequently, he refused to take measures to evade 
hu op u h si- n the restriction placed upon him. "My rule," he 
tion - said, " which I will never transgress, is never to con- 

tend with the prerogative out of Parliament, nor yet to contest 
with a king but when I am constrained thereunto or else make 
shipwreck of my peace of conscience, which I trust God will 
ever bless me with, and with courage too to preserve it." He 
would for the present ' fold himself up in a cold, silent for- 
bearance, and wait expecting that happy night that the King 
shall cause his chronicles to be read, wherein he shall find the 
faithfulness of Mardocheus, the treason of his eunuchs, and 
then let Haman look to himself.' l 

Even if Haman here meant Buckingham, the feeling thus 
expressed had nothing of the fierce earnestness which drove 
Eliot to track out the footsteps of misgovernment with the en- 
during steadfastness of a bloodhound. Nothing would induce 
Wentworth to make himself partaker in Hainan's misdeeds ; but 
he had no objection to pay a stately court to Haman, or to accept 

, 626 from him such favours as might be consistent with an 
Wentworth honourable independence. In January 1626, before 

asks for the . J 

Presidency Parliament met, having heard a rumour that Lord 
cii of the Scrope was about to resign the Presidency of the 
Council of the North, he wrote to Conway to ask for 
the appointment 2 In such a post there would be nothing to 
implicate him in the foreign policy which he disliked. The 
rumour proved false, and Wentworth gained nothing by his 
His over- request. Later in the spring, however, he drew still 
BuckinV more c l ose ty to the Court. Whilst the Commons 
ham - were bringing their charges against Buckingham, he 

came up to London and was introduced by his friend Weston 
to the Duke. Buckingham assured him of his desire ' to 
contract a friendship with him.' 3 

Whether Wentworth meant anything more by these over- 

1 Wentworth to Wandesford, Dec. 5, 1625, Strafford Letters, i. 32. 

2 Wentworth to Conway, Jan. 20, S. P. Dom. xviii. no. 

* Wentworth to Weston, undated, 1 626, Strafford Letters, i. 34. 


tures than that he was ready to conform to the custom of the 
time in paying his court to Buckingham, it is impossible to say ; 
Did he f r > though his friend Wandesford took a leading 
P art i n ^ e Cuke's impeachment, it is by no means 
unlikely that he may have himself regarded the pro- 
ceedings of the Commons with disfavour. That the Commons 
might give counsel to the King, and. that, if that counsel were 
rejected, they might proceed to a refusal of subsidies, was a 
doctrine which Wentworth had advocated by word and action. 
But he had never shown any inclination to support the theory 
that the Commons had the right of meddling directly or in- 
directly with the King's ministers ; and though he would doubt- 
less have been well pleased if Charles had dismissed Buckingham 
of his own motion, he may very well have refused his sympathy 
with an attempt to force him to dismiss his minister whether 
he wished it or not. Wentworth was just the man to doubt 
whether the King's government could be carried on under such 

The dissolution of Parliament in June had left Buckingham 

triumphant. It was speedily followed, on July 8, by a letter 

TuJ from the Lord Keeper dismissing Wentworth from 

Dismissal of the official position which he held in his own, 

Wentworth. county> when it reached Yo rk, Wentworth was 

sitting as High Sheriff in his court. The letter was handed to 
him, and the proud, high-spirited man learnt that he was no 
longer to call himself a justice of the peace. The office of Cus 
tos Rotulorum, for which he had struggled so hard, was given to 
his detested rival, Sir John Savile. 1 

That Wentworth felt the insult keenly it is unnecessary to 
say; but he was not the man to betray weakness. In a few 
measured words he protested his loyalty to the King. He 
Wentworth's called those around him to witness that he had al- 
jusufication. ways loved justice. '* Therefore," he added, "shame 
be from henceforth to them that deserve it. For I am 
well assured now to enjoy within myself a lightsome quiet as 

1 This we learn from a note to the list in Coventry's letter ; see p. 126. 
In the same way Sir D. Foulis succeeded Sir Thomas Hoby in the North 
Riding, and the Earl of Hertford Sir F. Seymour in Wiltshire. 



formerly. The world may well think I knew a way which 
would have kept my place. I confess indeed it had been too 
dear a purchase, and so I leave it." l 

The bystanders doubtless understood this language better 
than those who have, perhaps not unnaturally, seen in the 
attack made upon Wentworth the fountain of his opposition in 

the next Parliament. If words mean anything, Went- 
ofhisdis- worth was deprived of office because he was already 

in opposition. It was not a thunderbolt out of a 
clear sky which struck him. He distinctly intimated that he 
might have kept the place if he had chosen. There was some- 
thing which he might have done, which he had refused to do. 

What that was is entirely matter for conjecture ; but it is 
highly probable that Wentworth had been asked to countenance 
the collection of the free gift, and that he had refused to do so. 
It is at all events certain that he could not possibly have used 
his official influence in its support without sacrificing his self- 
respect. The old doctrine of the constitution was that money 
needed for war must be voted by Parliament. Wentworth 
would feel probably more than any other man in England the 
importance of maintaining this doctrine intact. To spend 
money upon the war with Spain was, in his eyes, as bad as 
throwing it into the sea. Was he to become the tool of such 
a policy as this ? Was he to go round amongst the free- 
holders, begging them to support the Crown in so ruinous an 
infatuation? Well may he have refused to demean himself so 

It was the necessary consequence of the unhappy course 
which Charles was pursuing that he could not fail to alienate 
all who had it in their power to serve him best ; yet he still 

believed himself to be possessed of the confidence 
Orders for of the people. On July 8, the very day on which 

the dismissal of the justices was resolved on, orders 
were issued for carrying on the usual musters with more than 
ordinary diligence. It looks as if Charles wished to appeal 
from a faction to the body of the nation. 2 

1 Wentworth's speech, Strajford Letters, i. 36. 

* Instruction? for Musters, July 8, S. P. Dom. xxxi. 34. 

1626 THE FREE GIFT. 131 

In the hands of Charles such a policy was not likely to be 
successful, especially when it took the shape of a demand for 
money. The first attempt to collect the free gift was 
in Middled made in Westminster Hall. Cries of " A Parlia- 
ment, a Parliament ! " were raised on every side, and 
only thirty persons, all of them known to be in the King's 
service, agreed to pay. In the rest of Middlesex and in Kent 
similar failures were reported, and the Council was driven to 
gild the pill by a declaration explaining away the compulsory 
character of the demand. There was no intention, 

July 26. 

they said, of asking for four subsidies as if the Com- 
mons' resolution had been in any way binding upon the nation. 
All that was meant had been to show what was the opinion of 
Parliament on the amount required for the defence of the 
country. 1 

In a few days answers to the demand made in this new 

fashion began to pour in. All througii August and the first 

Au<mst fortnight of September the tale of resistance went up 

Refuel of with almost uniform monotony. Here and there a 

thecounaes. handful of i oya ii sts offered a poor tribute of a few 

pounds. Here and there a county based its refusal on its 
poverty rather than on its disinclination to give ; but the great 
majority of refusers . spoke out clearly. They would give in 
Parliament. . Out of Parliament they would not give at all. The 
figment of a nation passing by its representatives to fly to the 
support of its King was demonstrated to be without a shadow 
of foundation. 2 

After this, unless Charles was prepared either to make peace 
with Spain, or to summon another Parliament, one course only 
Charles remained. The English constitution had grown up 
fofio'iTpre"- round the belief that the King was in very truth the 
cedents. centre of the national life. Precedents as ancient, 
and to the full as continuous, as the protests against tyranny 
and misgovernment which had been quoted in the House of 

1 Meade to Stuteville, July 24, Court and Times, i. 130. Council 
Register, July 26. 

* The answers will he found amongst the Domestic State Papers in 
August ani September. Berkshire was the first to refuse, on August 5. 

K. 2 


Commons, told how the Kings of England had been accustomed 
to call, not in vain, upon their subjects, to put no strict con- 
struction upon their local or individual rights in times of 
national danger. In reality nothing could be more perilous 
than to gather up these precedents as a rule of government at 
a time when the spirit which had animated them was being 
violated at every turn. Yet this peril, apparently without the 
least suspicion that there was any peril at all, Charles was de- 
termined to confront. 

One of these precedents had already been followed before 
the appeal for the free gift had been made. The fleet which had 
taken Cadiz in Elizabeth's reign had been partly supplied with 
Ships to be ships by a levy on the maritime counties. The same 
In^hime the course had been adopted now, and the shires along 
counties. the coast had been ordered to join the port towns in 
setting out a fleet of fifty-six ships. 1 Few of the shires were 
hardy enough to dispute the precedent, and most of them con- 
tented themselves with an effort to shift as much as possible of 
the burden upon their neighbours. The Dorsetshire magis- 
trates, who took higher ground, were sharply reprimanded by 
the Council. "State occasions," they were told, "and the 
defence of the kingdom in times of extraordinary danger, do 
July 24. not guide themselves by ordinary precedents." The 
oVfhe'cuyof City of London, having ventured to argue that the 
London. twenty ships at which it was assessed were more than 
had been required in former times, was still more soundly 
rated. "Whereas," answered the Council, "they 
mention precedents, they may know that the pre- 
cedents of former times were obedience and not direction, 
and that there are also precedents of punishment of those who 
disobey his Majesty's commandments signified by the Board 
in the case of the preservation of the State, which they hope 
there shall be no occasion to let them more particularly under- 

On the 1 5th the City gave way. 2 It would, however, be some 

1 List of ports charged with furnishing ships, June, S. P. Dom. 
nx. 81. 

-* Proceedings in Council, July 24, Aug. II, 15. Council Register. 


time before the ships thus obtained would be ready for sea. In 
r the meanwhile a fleet of thirty-nine ships had been 
The city gathering at Portsmouth, under the command of 
gives way. ^ ord \yilloughby. It had been given out that it 
w^" g h*' would sail on August iz, 1 to fall upon the transports 
by's fleet at jn the Biscay harbours, and if possible to inter- 

Portstnouth. i ir n i 11 /->! 

cept the Mexico fleet, and to succeed where Cecil 
had failed the year before. But August 12 came, and nothing 
was ready. Provisions for the voyage were not forthcoming, 
and the men, left without the necessaries of life, were deserting 
as fast as they could. 2 By Buckingham's own confession the 
King was incurring a debt of 4,ooo/. a month because he could 
not lay his hand upon i4,ooo/. to discharge some utterly use- 
less mariners by paying off their arrears.* 

New efforts were therefore made to get money. On August 18 
the Council directed the sale of 50,000 oz. of the King's plate. 
Aug. 18 On the 26th 20,000 oz. more were disposed of in the 
Sale of plate. same way. 4 Even Buckingham, sanguine as he was, 
felt in some measure the seriousness of his position. Having 
broken hopelessly with the leaders of the Commons, he would 
do his best to attach the nobility to his cause. A marriage was 
contrived between his little daughter and another child, the 
son of Pembroke's brother, Montgomery. Pembroke himself, 
incurring, if report spoke truly, no slight obloquy by his com- 
pliance with Buckingham's wishes, 8 was raised to the dignity of 
Lord Steward, whilst Montgomery succeeded him as Chamber- 
lain. The Earls of Dorset, Salisbury, and Bridgewater, who 
had supported Buckingham in the last session, were admitted 
to the Privy Council. If Arundel was still under a cloud, no 
attempt was made to press hardly upon him, and the advance- 
ment of Wallingford, the brother-in-law of the new Earl of 
Suffolk, to the Earldom of Banbury, may probably be regarded 
as an overture to the Howards. 

1 List of ships, S. P. Dom. xxxii. 74. 

* Gyffard to Nicholas, Aug. 24, 27, S. P. Dom. xxxiv. 28, 39. 
1 Council Register, Aug. 23. 

4 Ibid. Aug. 1 8, 26. 

* Advice from England, Sept. 12, Brussels MSS. 


Buckingham and his master had need of more support than 
could be found in the House of Lords. Nothing had been done 
to improve the King's relations with France. A commission 
had, indeed, been issued, to inquire into the law of prize, 1 but 
as the French were not convinced that Charles had any inten- 
tion of withdrawing his extreme pretensions, a fresh collision 
might arise at any moment. This was the time chosen by 
Charles to effect a domestic revolution, perhaps justifiable in 
itself, but certain to cause bitter mortification to his wife and to 
exasperate her brother more than ever. 

For months Charles had felt that, as long as the Queen's 

French attendants were in England, he could hardly call his 

Tune w ^ e his own. Her ladies taught her to look upon 

Charles and English men and women with distrust. Her priests 

FrenchTa"- 5 taught her to display ostentatiously more than the 

nts ' ordinary humiliations which found favour with her 
Church. Her complaints of her husband's broken promises 
met with a warm response in their sympathetic bosoms. When 
she was in private with her chosen companions she was merry 
enough, dancing and laughing as if no shadow of misfortune 
had ever crossed her path. She reserved her ill-humour for 
her husband, and in his presence bore herself as a martyr. The 
winter before he had thought of sending the whole company 
back to France ; but the marriage contract was against him, 
and he desisted for a time. Then came fresh dis- 

Quarrel ... 

about the putes and recriminations. The Queen wished to name 
some amongst her French attendants to take charge 
of her jointure. Charles refused his permission. One night, 
after the pair were in bed, there were high words between them. 
" Take your lands to yourself," said the offended wife. " If I 
have no power to put whom I will into those places, I will have 
neither lands nor houses of you. Give me what you think 
fit by way of pension." Charles fell back upon his dignity. 
" Remember," he said, " to whom you speak. You ought not 
to use me so." In reply, she broke out into mere fretfulness. 
She was miserable, she said. She had no power to place servants, 

' Commission, July II, Rymer, xviii. 730 

1626 HUSBAND AtTD % WIFE. 135 

and businesses succeeded the worse for her recommendation. 
She was not of that base quality to be used so ill. She ran on 
for some time, refusing to listen to her husband's explanation. 
" Then," wrote Charles afterwards, in giving an account of the 
scene, " I made her both hear me, and end that discourse." 1 

Charles's displeasure is not likely to have been softened by 
any real insight into his wife's difficulties, or by sympathy with 
the poor child's natural clinging to those who alone shared her 
feelings and her prejudices in a strange land. It was not long 
before a fresh cause of offence arose. On June 26 2 the Queen 
obtained leave to spend some time in retirement, in order to 
give herself to a special season of devotion. After a long day 
passed in attendance upon the services of her Church at the 
chapel at St. James's, she strolled out with her attendants to 
breathe the fresh evening air in St. James's Park. By-and by 
she found her way into Hyde Park, and by accident or design 
The Queen directed her steps towards Tyburn. In her position 
at Tyburn. j t was ^ ut na t ur al that she should bethink herself of 
those who had suffered there as martyrs for that faith which she 

1 Instructions for Carleton, printed in Ludlow's Memoirs, (ed. 1751), 
459. I rather suspect the date given as July 12, should be July 22, as the 
other instructions (S. P. France] are dated July 23. 

2 This date of the Jubilee is distinctly given in Salvetti's letter, J une -3> 

July to, 

and is nearly in agteement with Bassompierre's statement (Ambassadt, 
185) that more than six weeks passed between the visit to Tyburn and the 
notice taken of it on July 31. If the 25th of June was the day, there would 
be exactly five weeks, and Bassompierre may be allowed a little exaggera- 
tion. Miss Strickland's notion (Queens of England, 237) that the visit to 
Hyde Park took place in 1625, founded on a blunder in an English trans- 
lation of Bassompierre's speech, receives no countenance from the original 
(Ambassade, 185). If Miss Str ckland consulted Pory's letter in the Court 
and Times, in which the visit is said to have taken place on St. James's 
Day last, its date as there given, July i, may have confirmed her in her 
idea that ' St. James's Day last ' meant July 25, 1625. But the Queen \vas 
not in London at that date, and the date July i is a blunder of the editor. 
In the oiiginal it is July 5, as printed by Sir H. Ellis (ser. i, iii. 244). 
Internal evidence, however, shows that it was really written on Aug. 5, 
and Pory must therefore have meant July 25, 1626, an impossible date. 
St. James's Day perhaps arose out of some confusion with St. James's Park. 


had come to England to support. What wonder if her heart 
beat more quickly, and if some prayer for strength to bear her 
weary lot rose to her lips ? 

A week or two probably passed away before the tale reached 

Charles, exaggerated in its passage through the mouths of men. 

There was no compassion in him for the disappoint- 

The story , . , , , , . . . , . 

told to ment to which he had given rise in his young wife s 
c ares ' heart, by the promises which had been made only 
to be broken a disappointment which was none the less real 
because she could frolic amongst her companions with all the 
gaiety of her nation and her age. The Queen of England, he 
was told, had been conducted on a pilgrimage to offer prayer to 
dead traitors who had suffered the just reward of their crimes. 
The cup of his displeasure was now full. Whatever the contract 
might say, those who had brought her to this should no longer 
remain in England. 

Something, however, must be done to diminish the indig- 
nation with which the news would be received in France. An 
excuse was found for sending Carleton on a special embassy to 
Louis, in order that he might be at hand to explain everything 
away. As soon as it was known that Carleton was safely on 
the other side of the Channel, Charles proceeded to carry out 
his intentions. 

On July 31 the King and Queen dined together at White- 
hall. After dinner he conducted her into his private apartments, 
July 31. locked the door upon her attendants, and told her 
inissai'of the ^ at ^ er servants niust go. In the meanwhile Conway 
French. W as informing the members of her household that 
the King expected them to remove to Somerset House, where 
they would learn his pleasure* The Bishop of Mende raised 
some objections, and the women ' howled and lamented as if 
they had been going to execution.' The yeomen of the guard 
interfered, and cleared the apartments. 

Charles had a less easy task. As soon as the young Queen 
perceived what was being done, she flew to the window and 
The Queen's dashed to pieces the glass, that her voice might 
anger. once more be heard bv those who were bidding her 

adieu for the last time. Charges, it is said, dragged her back 


into the room with her hands bleeding from the energy with 
which she clung to the bars. The next day Conway visited 
Somerset House and told the angry crowd that they must leave 
the country, with two or three exceptions which had been made 
at the Queen's entreaty. Presents to the amount of 22,ooo/. 
were offered them, and they were told that if anything was 
owing to them it should be paid out of the remainder of the 
Queen's portion, which had been detained in France in conse- 
quence of the misunderstanding between the Courts. 1 

They refused to obey, and clung to England as their right. 
For some days they remained at Somerset House, in spite of 
Aug. 7. all orders to the contrary. Charles lost his patience. 
finaii Fr ex- ch " * command you," he wrote to Buckingham, " to 
peiied. send all the French away to-morrow out of town ; if 
you can, by fair means but stick not long in disputing other- 
wise force them away, driving them away like so many wild 
beasts until ye have shipped them, and so the Devil go with 

The King's pleasure was executed. At first the French 

refused to move till they were ordered by their own King to 

do so. The next morning the yeomen of the guard 

were marched down to Somerset House, and there 

was no more resistance. With the exception of a few personal 

attendants specially named, all the foreigners were conducted 

to Dover, and were there embarked for France as soon as the 

wind served. 2 

What would Louis say to this high-handed transaction? 

Carleton told his story in France as well as he could. The 

Au jt King answered him sharply. His sister, he said, 

Resentment had been treated cruelly. Charles had plainly broken 

his promise. An ambassador of his own, Marshal 

Bassompierre, should be sent to investigate the affair. When 

' Pory to Meade, Aug. 5 (not July 5), Ellis, per. i, iii. 237. Private 
instructions to Carleton, July 23 ; Conway to Carleton, Aug. 9, S. P. 
France. Richelieu, Aft moires, iii. 176. Contarini to the Doge, Aug. 
yen. Transcripts ; A\ 0. 

- The King to Buckingham, Aug. 7 ; Pory to Meade, Aug. ll, If ; 
Eliis, ser. I, iii. 244, 245, 247. 


he had received his report he would say what he would do 
From this resolution Carleton was never able to move him, and 
was finally recalled to England, having effected nothing. 1 

It was a badly chosen moment to offend the King of France 
The want of money was more crying every day. On August 1 7 
Distress for some two hundred soldiers and sailors, hopeless ol 
money. obtaining their pay at Portsmouth, nocked up to 
London, stopped the Duke's coach, and presented their com- 
plaint. Buckingham promised to satisfy them later in the day, 
slipped home by water, and placed himself beyond their reach.' 

All attempts, too, to fill the Exchequer were breaking down 
The free gift had come to nothing. A resolution to issue 
Privy seals in the old way was not persisted in. 3 For 
de^se a the a time much was hoped from the issue of debased 
coin, and the Mint had been busy for some weeks in 
preparing the light pieces. The City merchants, however, re 
monstrated strongly, and Sir Robert Cotton was heard on their 
behalf before the Council. The King himself was present, and 
in spite, it is said, of the opposition of Buckingham, refused to 
agree to the iniquitous proposal. The new pieces were declared 
by proclamation not to be current coin of the realm. 4 

In the face of all these increasing difficulties, there were 

men at Court who held high language still. Dorset, who had 

completely thrown in his lot with the high preroga- 

guage at tive doctrines which now found favour with Charles, 

talked of the impossibility of a rebellion in a country 

where there were no fortresses, and asserted that, as it was the 

duty of the people to maintain the war, the King would only 

have to take irregularly what he had failed to obtain from 

Parliament. 5 

In the midst of these perplexities, bad news arrived from 
Germany. To all outward appearance the position of the King 

1 Carleton to Conway, Aug. 13, S. P. France. 

2 Pory to Meade, Aug. 17, Ellis, ser. I, iii. 247. 

3 The King to the Council, Aug. 14, S. P. Dom. xxxiii. loi. 

4 to Meade, Sept. 8, Court and Times, i. 145. 

Contarini-to the Doge, ^ ug - 2J , Vcn. Transcripts, A'. 0. 
bept. 4 


of Denmark at the opening of the campaign of 1626 v. r as 
extremely strong. He had one army under his own 

The cam- ' . T & 

payn in command in Lower Saxony. Another army under 
Mansfeld was on the east bank of the Elbe. Othei 
troops were pushing forward in Westphalia. The peasants had 
risen in Austria. Bethlen Gabor had engaged to fall upon the 
Emperor's hereditary dominions from the east. It was true 
that Christian had now to do with another enemy in addition 
to Tilly. Wallenstein had brought against him that strange 
army, self-supporting and self-governed, which, in the name of 
the Emperor, was so soon to become a power in the Empire 
almost independent of the Emperor himself. Yet it seemed 
not unlikely, judging from numbers alone, that Christian and his 
allies would be strong enough to make head against Tilly and 
Wallenstein combined. From the beginning, however, one cir- 
cumstance was against him. His finances were inadequate to 
meet the strain. He had calculated that Charles would and 
could keep his word, and that 30,000^. a month would flow into 
his military chest from the English exchequer. Then had come 
the refusal of subsidies by Parliament. The payments, scarcely 
begun in May 1625, stopped altogether. Christian had levied 
soldiers on the faith of the English alliance, and his soldiers 
were clamouring for their pay. 1 To stand on the defensive, with- 
out money, was impossible, and there was no unity of command 
Mansfeid's m tne united armies. In May Mansfeld made a dash 
southwards, and was defeated by Wallenstein at the 
Bridge of Dessau. Before the summer ended he was hurrying 
through Silesia with Wallenstein hard upon his heels, hoping to 
combine with Bethlen Gabor for a joint attack upon Austria and 

Then came the turn of Christian of Denmark. To him 
a defensive war was impossible without Charles's money. An 
Aug. 17. attempt to slip past Tilly and to make his way towards 
Sfeat at" s Bethlen Gabor in Bohemia proved vain. Tilly, re- 
Lutter. inforced by some of Wallenstein's regiments, started 
in pursuit and overtook him at Lutter. After a sanguinary 

1 Anstruther's despatches (S. P. Denmark] give a good insight into 
these financial difficulties. 


battle the Danish King was completely defeated, and North 
Germany lay open to the Imperialists. 

The news of the disaster, for which the English Government 
was so largely responsible, reached Charles on September iz. 1 
Sept. 12. Now that it was too late, he talked of raising 10,000 
recedes the men * r *" s uncle's service, and ordered the sale of a 
news. large quantity of plate. He came at once to London, 

and sat for four hours in the Council, a feat which he had 
seldom performed before. When the Council was over he sent 
for the Danish Ambassador, and assured him that he would 
stake his crown and his life in his master's defence. With the 
tears almost standing in his eyes, he reminded the Dane that 
he was in distress for his own personal needs.' 

The matter was discussed anxiously in the Council. The 
most feasible project seemed to be to send on the 

The four *- J 

regiments in four volunteer regiments in the Netherlands, whose 
lands to go term of service would expire in November. There 
was, however, a difficulty in the way. The men, like 
most others in Charles's service, had not been paid for some 
months, and how was money to be found ? 2 

The first instinct of the Government was to apply to the 
City for a loan ; but the Lord Mayor and Aldermen had not 
forgotten the sharp message about the ships, and closed their 
purses tightly. 

1 If, as seems almost certain, the following undated letter was written 
at this time, we get from it Buckingham's feeling about the matter : ' My 
dear Master, This noble lord hath this day behaved himself like your 
faithful servant. He is able to relate to you what hath passed. I will only 
say this, that already your brother and sister are thrust out of their inherit- 
ance. If the news be true that runs current here, your uncle is in a very 
ill estate. There is much difference between the cases. The one, with 
the help of your people, brought you into this business, and yourself 
brought the other. The times require something to be done and that 
speedily, and the more it appears to be yours, certainly the better success 
will follow. Strike while the iron is hot, and let your uncle at the least 
see you were touched with the news. So, in haste, I kiss your Majesty's 
hands, as your humble slave, STEENIE.' Buckingham to the King, Harl.. 
MSS. 6988, fol. 74. 

2 Contarini to the Doge, Sept. *-, Ven. Transcripts, R. 0. to 

Meade, Sept. 15, Court and Times, i 148. 


Such was the position of affairs when, on September 27, 

Sept. 27 Bassompierre arrived in London. Everything had 

Bassom- b een done by Charles, since the expulsion of the 

pierre s 

arrival. French, to soothe the injured feelings of the Queen. 
A new household of noble English ladies, amongst whom 
Buckingham's wife and mother and sister were of course num- 
Treatment of bered, was formed to minister to her dignity. But 
the Queen. t h e deprivation which she suffered from the absence 
of the old familiar faces, and the silence of the old familiar 
accents of her mother-tongue, weighed heavily upon her spirits, 
and, in spite of the sedulous attentions of her husband, a sullen 
melancholy pervaded her features. 1 

The King's desire to please his wife did not extend to a 

desire to please her countrymen. To the Venetian ambassador 

he complained openly of the treachery and insincerity 

feefing'abcfut of the French. Buckingham was still more bitter. 

He gave orders that Bassompierre should be treated 

on his arrival with studied rudeness. He summoned Soubise 

to London, and talked with him for hours about the state of 

France. 2 

If any man was capable of smoothing away the difficulties 
in his course it was Bassompierre. He knew the world well, 
and he had that power of seizing upon the strong point of his 
opponent's case which goes far to the making of a successful 
diplomatist To the young Queen he gave the best possible 
advice ; told her to make the best of her situation, and warned 
her against the folly of setting herself against the current ideas 
of the country in which she lived and of the man to whom she 
October, was married. In the question of the household he 
pie^re^ne- was at t ' ie same ^ me ^ rm an< ^ conciliatory. He ac- 
fhe"h" non knowledged tnat Charles had a genuine grievance, 
hold. that the Queen would never be a real wife to him as 

long as she was taught by a circle of foreigners to regard her- 
self as permanently a foreigner ; whilst at the same time he 
spoke boldly of the breach of the contract which had been 

1 Contarini to the Doge, ^^, Ven. Transcripts R. O. 
Ibid . S 


committed. In the end he gained the confidence both of the 
King and of Buckingham, and with the assent of the King of 
France a new arrangement was agreed to, by which a certain 
number of French persons would be admitted to attend upon 
the Queen, whilst a great part of the household was to be 
formed of natives of England. 

The maritime questions at issue were discussed by Bas- 

sompierre in the same spirit. He was ready to admit the 

reasonableness of the English in objecting to a large 

On the com- , , . c< j T-I 

merciai trade being earned on between Spain and r landers 
isputes. under the French flag ; but he wished to see some 
arrangement come to by which the perpetual interference 
of the English cruisers could be obviated. But for events 
which occurred to exasperate both nations, a commercial treaty 
laying down the terms on which neutrals should be liable to 
arrest might perhaps have been the result of Bassompierre's 
mission. 1 

Unfortunately Charles was not disposed to withdraw any 
one of his pretensions whilst the negotiations were pending, 
wiiiough- I n October Lord Willoughby's fleet contrived at 
by's fleet. i ast to p ut to sea . fo u ^ having met with a severe 
storm in the Bay of Biscay, against which the ill-found vessels 
were incompetent to struggle, was driven back to the English 
ports without accomplishing anything. Before it 
Three sailed, a squadron under Lord Denbigh had cap- 

tain by hlps tured three Rouen vessels of immense value, on the 
Denbigh. suspicion that they were laden with Spanish property. 2 
Public opinion in France was greatly excited, and a fresh 
decree was issued by the Parliament of Rouen for 
ct. 10. t ^ e sequestration of English goods. 3 Yet the Eng- 
lish Court did not contemplate the probability of a breach. In 
_. , the beginning of November it was announced that 


Goring to go Sir George Goring would go to France to clear 
to ranee. U p & jj difficulties. Buckingham was by this time 
once more in that frame of mind in which all things seemed 

1 Ambassade de Bassompicrre. 

1 Denbigh to Buckingham, Sept. 21, S. P. Dom. xxxvi. 31. 

An English merchant at Rouen to Ferrar, Oct. -, S. P. France. 

1626 THE FORCED LOAN. 143 

easy, aU the more because he had reason to believe that the 
financial difficulties which had plagued him so long were at 
last at an end. 

In the course of September some clever man, not impro- 
bably Sir Allen Apsley, 1 suggested that though the King had 
The forced found difficulties in raising a so-called free gift, there 
loan. might be less difficulty in the way of raising a forced 

loan. The Statute of Benevolences, it may have been urged, 
stood clearly in the way of any attempt to make the gift com- 
pulsory ; but forced loans under the name of Privy seals were 
perfectly familiar to all Englishmen, and it would only be 
necessary to extend the system a little further. It is only due 
to Charles that he should be heard in defence of the proposal 
In a letter which Abbot was required to circulate in 

Sept. 21. n 

The King's all the dioceses of England, Charles called upon the 
Church to aid the necessities of the State. After 
dwelling at length upon the evil consequences of the defeat of 
Lutter, the King went over the old story how he had been 
led into war by the counsel of Parliament. " This," he wrote, 
" upon their persuasions and promises of all assistance and 
supply we readily undertook and effected, and cannot now be 
left in that business but with the sin and shame of all men : 
sin, because aid and supply for the defence of the kingdom 
and the like affairs of State, especially such as are advised by* 
Parliamentary counsel, are due to the King from his people by 
all law both of God and men ; and shame if they forsake the 
King while he pursues their own counsel just and honourable, 
and which could not, under God, but have been successful 
if he had been followed and supplied in time, as we desired 
and laboured for." The greatest evil of Church and State, 
Charles went on to say, was the breach of unity. The clergy 
were to preach unity and charity, and to exhort the people to 
prayers for themselves and for the King of Denmark. 2 

1 At least he afterwards claimed to have been the cause of bringing 
<oo,ooo/. to his Majesty. And though the loan produced less than 
3'jo,ooo/. , I am at a loss to think of any other scheme which produced 
nearly so much. Apsley to Nicholas, Feb. 2, 1628, S. P. Dom. xcii. 18. 

* The King t> Abbot, Sept. 21, Wilkins, iv. 471. 


Two days after this letter was written, and before there was 

time to put it in circulation, a first attempt to collect the loan 

Sept. 23. was made in the county of Middlesex. The sum to 

mi'stio'n'for ^ P a '^ was ^ xe( ^ at ^ ve subsidies, an amount far 
Middlesex, greater than had ever been raised upon Privy seals. 
The Commissioners appointed to collect the loan were directed, 
first to lend money themselves, and then to summon before 
them all men rated in the subsidy books. Anyone who refused 
to lend was to be required to swear whether he had been 
prompted in his refusal by another person, and if he would 
neither lend nor swear, then to be bound over to answer for 
his contempt before the Privy Council. 1 

Westminster was chosen as the scene of the first meeting 
of the Commissioners. In the parishes of St. Margaret's and 
October. St. Martin's, lying as they did under the very eye of 
Proceedings the Court, little difficulty was made. In the parishes 
minster. about the Strand there was more disturbance. When 
the inhabitants of the country parts of Middlesex were sum- 
moned, the majority of those who came agreed to pay, and the 
Government was thus encouraged to apply to the other counties 
in the neighbourhood of London. 2 

The moment when success seemed to be dawning upon 
Charles was chosen by him to deal a blow at the man who had 
tione more than anyone else to frustrate his hopes. As soon as 
Eliot returned home, all the swarm of Buckingham's adherents 
fell upon him. Foremost of all was Sir James Bagg, the man 
who coveted Eliot's office, and who never signed a letter to the 
Duke without subscribing himself his 'humble slave.' Charges 
and complaints were easy to bring together when they were wel- 
come to those who received them, and on October 25 
Sequestra- they were brought into such shape as to induce the 
EHoIvice- Privy Council to pronounce Eliot unworthy any 
Admiralty. ] onger to exercise the duties of his office. The 
Vice-Admiralty of Devon was made over to Sir James Bagg, 
and to a kindred spirit, Sir John Drake. 

Buckingham's heart was again full of triumph. In the 

1 Commission and Instructions, Sept. 23, S. P. Dom. xxxvi. 42, 43. 
* to Meade, Oct. 6, 2o, Court and Times, i. 154, 159. 


beginning of November it had not only been finally decided to 
send the four regiments in Holland to the assistance of the 
King of Denmark, but arrangements had been made for paying 
them, at least for a time. 1 In his conversations with Bassom- 
pierre, Buckingham had much to say about the revival of the 
N OV< 5- French alliance, and on November 5 he adroitly took 
The enter- the opportunity of a magnificent entertainment given 
York House, by himself to the ambassador at York House to signify 
the hopes which he had founded on the renewal of amity with 
France. In the masque which the spectators were called upon 
to admire, Mary de Medicis was represented as enthroned in 
the midst of the celestial deities upon the sea which separated 
England and France, welcoming the Elector and Electress 
Palatine, as well as her three daughters, with their husbands 
the Kings of England and Spain and the Prince of Piedmont. 3 
It was the old dream of 1623, with the substitution of Henrietta 
Maria for the Infanta. In his conversations with Bassompierre 
Buckingham talked freely of the difficulties caused by want of 
money, and something was said of an arrangement to be brought 
about in Germany by French influence. 3 

So smooth had the waters been running at home since 

Bassompierre's arrival that everything seemed possible. The 

Queen with occasional outbursts of petulance was 

The Queen x - 

and Buck- at last on good terms with her husband, and was 

higham. . . . ., .,,_,,., 

even carrying on friendly intercourse with the English 
ladies of her Court, and thrgugh them with Buckingham him- 
self. But it was rot easy to make amends for the want of 
foresight which had postponed so long the settlement of the 
Nov. 9. maritime quarrel between the two countries. An 
ch a e n er " angry crowd interested in the French trade had 
FVancf W ro- h l ate ty gathered round Bassompierre's door, and had 
test against loaded the ambassador with insults. On November g 

trie-liberation * 

of the prizes, a formal petition was presented to the Council by 
the merchants, asking for the further stay of the French prizes 

1 The King to the States-General, Nov. 3, AM. MSS. 17,677, L, 
fol. 292. 

2 Salvetti's News-Letter, Nov. IO. 

3 Contarini to the Doge, Nov. I? , Ven. Transcripts, R. O. 


till the goods sequestered at Rouen had been liberated. 1 
Buckingham's spirits only rose with the occasion. The 
knot was worthy of his own personal intervention. Bassom- 
pierre should go without the prizes. He should carry with 
him a few priests set free from prison, but the further con- 
cessions promised to the Catholics should for the present be 
postponed. The extraordinary ambassador about to 

Buckingham l J 

proposes to start for Pans should go to the heart of the difficulty, 
and propose a reasonable settlement of the law of 
prize, to be followed by a renewed understanding on the 
general affairs of Europe. Goring was no longer considered 
fit for a negotiation of such extended dimensions. There was 
but one man in England believed by Buckingham to be equal 
to the task, and that man was himself. 2 

Events were hurrying on too rapidly for Buckingham's 
control. The example of the Rouen Parliament proved in- 
fectious. Four English vessels were stopped off 
seizures at Rochelle. Again the merchants flocked round the 
Council, begging for letters of marque against the 
French, and the Council was beginning to share in their 
excitement Though, for the present, the King refused to issue 
letter of marque, orders were drawn up for a further seizure 
of French property in England. Fresh news might at any 
time provoke an act which would involve the two countries 
in war. 3 

Such news was already on its w^y. 4 The Duke of Epernon, 
Governor of Guienne, was one of the many amongst the French 
aristocracy who were opposed to Richelieu and his policy. If 
his motive was to frustrate that policy and to create a breach 
between France and England he could hardly have acted more 

1 Petition, Nov. . Bassompierre to Herbault, Nov. , Neg. 257* 

2 The Duke's intention is mentioned by Bassompieire in his letter of 

Dec. - , but Contarini knew of it on Nov. . 
12 27 

1 Contarini to the Doge, p"*' ' 4 , Ven. Transcripts, R. 0. 

4 It reached Bassompierre at Dover on the 24th of November, but was 
not known in London till later. 


cleverly than he did. As a fleet of two hundred English and 
The wine Scottish vessels, laden with the year's supply of wine, 
fleet seized at was sailing from Bordeaux, he ordered the seizuie 
of the whole. When the news reached England, it 
was regarded as a peculiar aggravation of the offence that he 
had waited till a new duty of four crowns a tun had been paid, 
and had thus secured both the money and the wine. This 
time not the merchants only, but all who drank wine were up 
in arms. It was known that the last year's supply would soon 
be exhausted, and its price consequently went up rapidly. 1 

Even before these last tidings from Bordeaux reached 
Buckingham, he had discovered that others had not as much 
Bucking- confidence as himself in his diplomatic powers, 
^ectedem- Bassompierre hinted to him pretty plainly that his 
bassy. presence would not be acceptable in France advice 

which may to some extent have been founded on the recollec- 
tion of Buckingham's insolent behaviour to the Queen, but 
which was fully justified by dislike of the impetuous character 
of the Duke. Nor was resistance wanting from Buckingham's 
own family. His wife, his mother, and his sister threw them- 
selves on their knees, imploring him to desist from so hazardous 
an enterprise. 2 When the news arrived from Bordeaux the 
enterprise became more hazardous still. The Council was in 
favour of instant retaliation. Buckingham himself began to par- 
take of the general exasperation ; but he was all the more con- 
vinced that his own personal intervention would clear away the 
Dec. 4. difficulty. Summoning back Bassompierre, who had 
Buckingham already reached Dover on his return home, he went 

offers to go ' 

a*, once. down to Canterbury to meet him, and offered to 
cross the Straits at once in his company, to set matters right. 
Bassompierre had some difficulty in persuading him to wait 
till an answer could be received from the French Court. 3 

1 Contarini to the Doge, Dec. -, Ven. Transcripts, R. 0. to 

Meade, Dec. 9, Court and Times, i. 180. 

2 Bassompierre to Herbault, D ^r-^> ^g- 2 97> Contarini to the Doge, 
Dec. 4> M"' Transcripts, R. O. 


1 Bassompierre to Louis XIII., Dec. |?, Neg. 307. 


It was hardly likely that this overture would be favour- 

Dec 3 ably received. On December 3, before Buckingham 

French ships started for Canterbury, an Order in Council was 

^nd goods to . 

ce seized. issued for the seizure of all French ships and goods 
in English waters. 1 

Yet even then Buckingham still talked of going to Paris, as 
if nothing had happened. He said that till he heard that the 
King of France had himself refused to see him, he would 
not believe that his overtures had been rejected. He may well 
have hesitated to acknowledge that war was inevitable. Every 
day he was receiving signs of the unpopularity of which he 
was the object. At Court it was believed that his only aim 
was to seek an opportunity of making love once more to the 
Queen of France ; whilst reasonable men explained his desire 
to go to France by his eagerness to be out of England during 
the session of Parliament which was now naturally enough pre- 
sumed to be inevitable. Wuen he set out to meet Bassom- 
pierre at Canterbury, the mob followed him with curses, shout- 
ing after him, " Begone for ever ! " 2 

Hard pressed as he was, Charles had not the slightest in- 
tention of meeting a Parliament. Yet the prospects of the loan 
_ , were far less favourable in December than they had 

October. ' 

Prospects of been at the beginning of November. At first, when 

loan ' the money had been demanded only from the five 

counties nearest London, it seemed as if a little firmness 

would bear down all opposition. In Essex, Sir Francis Bar- 

rington and Sir William Masham were committed to prison for 

a few days for refusing to sit upon the commission, and thirteen 

poorer men were sent down to Portsmouth to serve on board 

the fleet, as a punishment for their refusal to pay, though they 

were allowed to go home again after a short detention. 

November. ,-' i ,-,,-, 

After this, little further resistance was made, and the 
Government, congratulating itself that its difficulties were at an 

1 Order in Council, Dec. 3, S. P. Dom. xli. 15. 

2 Contarini to the Doge, Dec. ^ 8 , Ven. Transcripts, R. O. The idea 

about making love to the Queen is frequently mentioned by Contarini, 
but, I think, without much belief on his part. 


end, prepared to despatch to more distant shires the Privy 
Councillors who were to take part in the commissions in order 
that they might overawe the counties by their presence. 

Suddenly opposition arose from an unexpected quarter. 
The judges had hitherto borne their share of Benevolences and 
Resistance of Privy seals without murmuring; but though they siill 
the judges, expressed their readiness to pay their quota towards 
the new loan, they now unanimously refused to acknowledge 
its legality by putting their hands to paper to express their con- 
NOV. 10. sent to tne demand. Charles, as soon as he heard 
Jhe chief f the OD J ect ' on > hastily sent for the Chief Justice, 
justice. Sir Randal Crew, and, finding that he would not 
give way, dismissed him on the spot from his office, as an 
example to the rest. 1 

If Charles expected to intimidate the other judges he was 
quickly undeceived. One and all they refused to give the 
required signatures unless they were allowed to add that they 
signed simply to please his Majesty, without any intention of 
giving their authority to the loan. 2 

A successor was easily found for Crew in Sir Nicholas 
Hyde, who had been the draftsman of Buckingham's defence. 
The Chief Justiceship of the Common Pleas, which was va- 
cant by Hobart's death, was filled by Serjeant Richardson, who 
gave a pledge of his subserviency by marrying a kinswoman 
of the Duke before he was admitted to the Bench. 3 But the 
wound inflicted by Charles upon his own authority was not so 
easily healed. When at any future time he appealed to the 

1 Meddus to Meade, Oct. 27, Nov. 4, Court and Times, i. 160, 165. 

z " Sur ce refus, le Roy a envoye querir au principal des juges, le- 
quel ayant refuse de signer, le Roy 1'a desmis au mestne instant de sa 
charge, et puis a envoye presenter ledit livre aux autres juges, lesquels y 
ont mis cette clause, que non pour donner exemple au peuple, nyle convier 
a faire la mesme chose, mais qu'estant interpelles et presses, pour eviter de 
fascher sa Majeste" ils ont souscrit." Bassompierre, Neg. 263. Compare 

Contarini's Despatch, Nov. ; Meddus to Meade, Nov. 10, 17, Court 

and Times, i. 167, 170. Hyde's formal appointment was on Feb. 5, 
1627 ; Rymer, xviii. 835. 

1 Meddus to Meade, Dec. I, Court and Times, i. 175. 


judges against what he regarded as the encroachments of the 
Commons, it would be remembered that they were no longer 
disinterested umpires, and that the highest of their number 
had been dismissed from office because he refused to say that 
to be legal which he believed to be illegal. The judges, in 
short, were to be appealed to as impartial arbiters when they 
were on the side of the Crown ; but to be treated with scorn 
when they ventured to have opinions of their own. 

The news that the judges had made objections spread like 
wildfire. Fifteen or sixteen of the Peers amongst them Essex, 
Further Lincoln, Warwick, Clare, Bolingbroke, and Saye 
refusals. refused to lend. In Hertfordshire a large number 
of persons who had already given their subscriptions, declared 
Nov 2 that the opinion given by the judges had set them 
Debate in free. In the Council the fiery Dorset urged the im- 
mediate imprisonment of the recalcitrant Lords. The 
majority, however, was against him, and it was resolved to 
await the effect of the visits of the Privy Councillors to the 
counties. 1 

Not even the risk of a failure of the loan could induce 
Charles to change his policy towards France. On December 3, 
December. as nas been seen, the order was issued for the seizure 
Fear of _ o f French vessels On the 8th Bassompierre left 

French man- r 

time force. Dover with a promise to send back the message 
which would virtually imply peace or war. 2 In the meanwhile 
everything that passed in France was regarded with jealous 
scrutiny. The evident determination of Richelieu to make 
France a maritime nation, that she might no longer go a begging 
to foreign powers for the means of repressing rebellion amongst 
her own people, was treated at Whitehall as an insult to the 
English supremacy at sea, an encroachment upon Charles's 
rights which Buckingham was bent on resisting by any means 
in his power. 

A plan was soon formed. As in 1625, Pennington was 
entrusted with the secret Of the twenty ships wrung from the 

1 Meade to Sluteville, Nov. 25 ; Mecldus to Meade, Dec. I, Court and 
Times. i. 172, 175. Rudyerd to Nethersole, Dec. i, S. P. Dom. xli. 3. 
* Hippisk-y to Buckingham, Dec. 8, S. P. Dom. xli. 50. 


City with so much difficulty, some were now ready and were 
tying under Pennington's command in the .Downs. 

The city On the 2 2nd Charles wrote to Buckingham that six 
or eight ships purchased by the French King in the 

Low Countries were at Havre. As they were intended to be 

employed against England he was to see that they were sunk 
Dec. 24. r taken. 1 Two days later Buckingham sent Pen- 

dere n th!ST nin gton his instructions. "When you shall come 

to attack where these ships ride," he wrote, " you are, accord- 
French ships *. 

at Havre. ing to your best discretion to give the captains 01 
commanders of them some occasion to fall out with you and to 
shoot at you ; and thereupon presently, with the best force you 
can make, you are to repulse the assault, and so to set upon 
them with your own and all the ships of your fleet as that, 
having once begun with them, you may be sure, God willing, 
not to fail to take them, or, if they will not yield, to sink or fire 
them. If, because they are but a few ships, and, as I am in- 
formed, not well manned, they shall not dare, upon any occa- 
sion, to meddle first with you, then you are to take occasion 
to pick some quarrel with them upon some suspicion of their 
intent to lie there to colour enemy's goods or countenance his 
ships, and so to assure or take them, or otherwise to sink them 
and fire* them. In which you are, as you see occasion, to make 
as probable and just a ground of a quarrel as may be, and, if you 
can, to make it their quarrel, not yours. But howsoever, if you 
can meet with them you may not fail to take, sink, or fire them." 2 
With his usual readiness to obey orders as soon as he under- 
stood what they meant, Pennington prepared to obey. He had 
Dec. 28. ' n w fifteen ships altogether ; ' but he complained 
prep'ar n Jf o that tne Londoners had taken no trouble to make the 
obey. vessels extorted from them worthy of his Majesty's 

service. The ships themselves were 'very mean things.' They 
were undermanned, and those who had been sent on board were 
chiefly landsmen and boys. With two of the King's ships he 
would undertake to beat the whole fleet. 3 

1 The King to Buckingham, Dec. 22, S. P. Dom. xlii. 67. 

2 Secret instructions from Buckingham to Pennington, Dec. 24, S. P. 
JDoni. xlii. 8l. 3 Pennington to Buckingham, Dec. 28, ibid. xlii. IOO. 


The value of Pennington's squadron was not to be tested 
this time. Buckingham had been completely misinformed. 
,627. Havre roads were empty, and after a few days' 
Peimington cru ise Pennington arrived at Falmouth, having done 
does nothing. no thing at all, except that he had fired into ten 
Dutch men-of war, believing them to be Dunkirkers. He was 
himself not well pleased with the result. "Consider," he wrote 
to Buckingham, " what a desperate employment you put upon 
me, to be sent out at this time of year with three weeks' victual, 
having long dark nights, base ships, and ill -fitted with munition 
and worse manned, so that if we come to any service it is 
almost impossible we can come off with honour or safety." l 

Whilst Pennington was still at sea, Louis's final determina- 
tion was placed in Charles's hands. 2 Bassompiere's plan for 
settling the Queen's household, which had been even 


demands of more favourable to France than a scheme of which 
Louis had expressed his approval in October, 3 was 
now entirely disavowed. The King of France, Charles was to 
be informed, was unwilling to accept anything short of the 
complete execution of the marriage contract. Nevertheless, at 
his mother's intercession, he would consent to some changes, 
though they were to be far fewer than those to which his am- 
bassador had agreed. As for the ships, if the King of England 
would fix a day for liberating the French prizes, he would do 
the same on his side. 

The answer was regarded in England as a personal affront. 
Buckingham informed Richelieu that his master now considered 
Their rejec- himself free from all former obligations about the 
tion. household, and that France, having begun the seizure 

of the English vessels unjustly, must be the first to make re- 
paration. 4 

Open war could hardly be averted much longer. The 

1 Pennington to Buckingham, Jan. 10, S. P. Dom. xlviii. 26. 

2 The letter in Bassompierre's Negotiations (312) is undated, but was 
written in the end of December. 

3 Louis XIII. to Bassompierre, Oct. ", Neg. 153. 

4 Buckingham to Richelieu, Jan. (?) 1627, Crowe's History of France, 

162? IMPENDING WAR. 153 

marriage treaty of 1624, so fair in its promise, had borne its 
bitter fruits. The attempt to bind too closely nations 

Cause of the l J 

rupture with differing; in policy and religion had failed. The 

France. _..,_, * , , , . . , 

English Government had made up its mind to in- 
volve Catholic France in a declared war in defence of Pro- 
testantism in Germany. The French Government had made 
up its mind to secure toleration for the English Catholics. 
When hopes that should never have been entertained failed 
to be realised, there was disappointment and irritation on both 
sides. Then came the interference of Charles on behalf of Ro- 
ohelle, the quarrel about the prize goods, and the quarrel about 
the Queen's household, all of them perhaps matters capable of 
settlement between Governments anxious to find points of agree- 
ment, but almost impossible of settlement between Governments 
already prepared to take umbrage at one another's conduct. 

How was a Government which had failed so signally in 
making war against Spain, to make war against France and 
How was Spain at the same time ? Even at Charles's Court 
figlft la France ll was acknowledged that, in the long run, the con- 
ar.<i Spain? tes f wn ich had been provoked would be beyond the 
strength of England. Yet there were those who thought and 
Buckingham was doubtless one of the number that the Eng- 
lish superiority at sea was so manifest that it would be possible 
to re-establish the independence of Rochelle and to drive the 
French commerce from the seas, before either France or Spain 
would be strong enough to make resistance. 1 

Was it certain, however, that even this temporary superiority 
at sea would be maintained ? Again and again, during the 
autumn and winter, mobs of sailors had broken away from dis- 
cipline, and had flocked up to London to demand their pay by 
battering at the doors of the Lord Admiral or the Treasurer of 

the Navy : and now Pennington's crews were break- 
Mutiny in ' 

Pennington's ing out into open mutiny at Stokes Bay. The three 

months for which the City fleet had been lent were 

nearly at an end, and when orders were given to weigh anchor 

and to make sail for the westward, the men responded with 

' This is the substance of an undaiod paper amongst the State J\ipera t 
France, which seems to have come from some one of authority. 


shouts of ' Home ! home ! ' and refused to touch a rope unless 
they were assured that they would be allowed to return to the 
Downs. 1 

After the return of Willoughby's fleet, the state of the Navy 
had at last compelled Charles to order a special commission of 
Commission inquiry, and the defects of the King's ships were 
ntoTe7tate bein g dail y dragged to light. The workmen at 
of the Navy. Chatham, the Commissioners discovered, had not 
received their wages for a year. The sailors on board some of 
the ships were in the greatest distress. They had neither 
clothes on their backs nor shoes on their feet, and they had no 
credit on shore to supply these deficiencies. 2 

Yet, in spite of all these disclosures, orders were given to 
prepare a great fleet of eighty ships for the summer. French 
prizes were now beginning to come in, and would doubtless 
meet part of the expense. The revenue had been anticipated to 
the amount of 2^6,ooo/. 3 The utmost economy was practised 
in the Royal household. If only the loan could be collected, 
all might yet be well for a season. 

In January the Privy Councillors and other persons of note 
appointed to act as Commissioners for the loan started for the 
Progress of counties assigned to them. It was thought that men 
the loan. ^Q y, a( j c i ose d their purses tightly in the presence 
of the local Commissioners would be chary of offering a refusal 
to the Lords of the Council. In the majority of cases, the 
effect produced was doubtless great. Of the reports sent up in 
the first three months of the new year, the greater part of those 
preserved must have been tolerably satisfactory to the King. 
Berkshire made but little difficulty. The university and city 
of Oxford showed alacrity in the business. In Cheshire there 
was ready obedience. 4 In Somerset, Hereford, Shropshire, 
Stafford, Durham, all but a small number were ready to pay.* 
Nor does this afford matter for surprise. The immediate risk 

1 Philpot to Buckingham, Jan. 15, S. P. Dom. xlix. 37. 

2 Order of the Commissioners, Jan. 16, ibid. xlix. 68. 

3 Ibid, xlvii. 55. 

4 S. P. Dom. xlix. 12, 36 ; Ivi. 72. 

4 Ibid. liii. 88, liv. 28, Ivi. 89, lix. 6. 


was great. The refuser might be cast into prison, or sent to 
be knocked on the head in some chance skirmish in the German 
wars. Except for the most resolute and self-sacrificing, the 
temptation to escape the danger by the payment of a few 
shillings, or even a few pounds, was too strong to be resisted. 
Yet, small as the number of refusers was, the Government could 
not afford to pass lightly over their denial. It represented a 
vast amount of suppressed discontent, and the men from whom 
it proceeded were often in the enjoyment of high personal con- 
sideration in their respective neighbourhoods. In some counties 
Growing re- tn d r example spread widely amongst all classes. In 
^stance. Essex some of the local Commissioners themselves 
refused to pay. 1 In Northamptonshire twenty- two of the 
principal gentry, followed by more than half the county, offered 
so decided a resistance that the itinerant Privy Councillors at 
once bound over the gentlemen to appear before the Board 
at Whitehall, and sent up a number of refractory persons of 
lesser quality to be mustered for service under the King of 
Denmark. In Gloucestershire twelve out of twenty-five Com- 
missioners refused to pay, and the example thus given was 
widely followed. 2 In Lincolnshire, at the end of January, only 
two or three persons had given their consent. 3 The Council 
was in no great hurry to proceed to strong measures. Most of 
the members were absent from London as Commissioners, and 
during the greater part of February some twenty gentlemen 
were allowed to remain in confinement without receiving any 
summons to appear before the Board. When no signs of sub- 
mission appeared they were called up and commanded to obey 
the King. The threat produced no impression on them. The 
flower of the English gentry refused to admit the justice of the 

1 S. P. Dom. liv. 47. 

2 Manchester,- Exeter, and Coke to Buckingham, Jan. 12 : Northamp- 
ton and Bridgeman to the Council, Feb. 17, ibid. xlix. 8, liv. 28. 

3 Contarini to the Doge, Feb. 2 , Ven. Transcripts, R. O. to 

Meade, Feb. 2, Court and Times, i. 191. The story of the riot and attack 
on the house in which the Commissioners were sitting is contradicted by 
Meade on the evidence of a Lincolnshire gentleman. The rumours of the 
day contained in this correspondence must be received with great caution. 


demand, and every one of the offenders was sent back to the 
restraint from which he had come. 

The battle once engaged had to be fought out to the end. 
It would never do to accept payment from the weak and to 
allow the strong to go free. A fresh attempt to overcome the 
opposition in Lincolnshire ended somewhat better than the 
former one. Still there were sixty-eight recusants. Ten of them, 
who were Commissioners, were sent up to answer for the'r refusal 
March before the Council. Others followed not long after- 
Li^coin'sent wai "ds. The Earl of Lincoln was detected in agitat- 
tothe Tower. j n g against the loan, and was sent to the Tower. 1 

Reports of the confusion which prevailed poured in from 
every side. Soldiers were wandering about the country, to the 
dismay of quiet householders. " And besides," wrote Wimble- 
don to Secretary Coke, " there are many vagabonds that, in 
the name of soldiers, do outrages and thefts." The laws seemed 
to be powerless against them, and yet " there was never time 
more needful to have such laws put in execution, in regard of 
the great liberty that people take, more than they were wont." 
These obstructions to the well-being of the commonwealth 
must be cleared away ' rather at this time than at any other, 
for that the world is something captious at all things that are 
commanded without a parliament.' Wimbledon's remedy was 
the appointment of a provost-marshal in every shire. This 
advice was adopted, and the men were thus brought under 
martial law. 2 

The spirit of resistance was abroad. On February 28 orders 

were given by the Council to press fifty of the Essex refusers for 

February, the King of Denmark ; but the poorer classes were 

the' poo"er e f l earmn g. fr m tne example of the gentry, to stand 

classes. upon their rights. With one consent the men refused 

to take the press-money, the reception of which would consign 

them to bondage. On March 16 there was a long 

debate on their case in the Privy Council, and some 

of its members, with more zeal than knowledge, recommended 

1 S. P. Dom. Ivi. 39. Meacle to Stuteville, March 17, Court and 
Times, \. 207. 

9 Wimbledon to Coke, Feb. 23, Melbourne MSS. 


that they should be hanged, under the authority of martial law. 
Coventry was too good a lawyer to admit this doctrine. Martial 
Inw, he explained, was applicable to soldiers only, and men who 
had not yet received press-money were not soldiers. The order 
given for sending these bold men of Essex to the slaughter 
was accordingly rescinded, and they were left to be dealt with 
if they could be dealt with at all in some other way. 1 

The names of these obscure men have been long ago for- 
gotten ; but that persons of no great repute should have been 
found on the list of those who were willing to suffer persecution 
for their rights as Englishmen is a thing not to be forgotten. 
It was the surest warrant that the resistance, though led by an 
aristocracy, was no merely aristocratic uprising. The cause 
concerned rich and poor alike, and rich and poor stepped 
forward to suffer for it each class in its own way. The day 
would come, if they were pressed hard, when rich and poor 
would step forward to fight for it. 

Amongst the names better known to the England of that 

day are to be found three which will never be forgotten as long 

as the English tongue remains the language of civilised 

Hampden, _ \ __ , . -.-. . . , , . 

Eiiot, and men. John Hampden, the young Buckinghamshire 
' rt ' squire, known as yet merely as a diligent Member of 
Parliament, active in preparing the case against Buckingham in 
the last session, 2 but taking no part in the public debates, was 
amongst the foremost on the beadroll of honour to be called 
up to London, on January 29, tc answer for his refusal to pay 
the loan. Eliot's summons in May and his subsequent im- 
prisonment need no explanation. With Hampden and Eliot 
and many another whose names are only less honoured than 
theirs, was Sir Thomas Wentworth. 

If Wentworth had good reasons for opposing the free gift, 
Wcntworth's ne na d still better reasons for opposing the forced 
opposition. i oan Scarcely a shred was left of that freedom 
of choice which, at least in appearance, accompanied the 

Meade to Stuteville, March 17, 24, Court and Times, i. 207, 208. 
This hearsay evidence is corroborated by the order in the Council Register, 
March 19, for rescinding the directions for the press. 
2 Forstcr, Sir J. h\>t, \. 290. 


former demand. An attempt to draw money illegally from 
Wentworth's purse was an insult which he would have been 
inclined to resent even if Charles had intended to employ it for 
purposes of which he approved. He knew that the present 
loan was to be employed for purposes of which he entirely dis- 
approved. To talk to him about the patriotism of lending 
money for a war with Spain, and, for all he knew, for a war 
with France too, was adding mockery to the insult. What he 
wanted was to see the Crown and Parliament turning their 
attention to domestic improvement. Instead of that, Charles 
and Buckingham were ruining the sources of their influence 
by forcing the nation to support unwillingly an extravagant and 
ill-conducted war. 

That the forced loan was not a loan in any true sense it 
was impossible to deny. There was no reasonable prospect of 
its repayment, and money thus given was a subsidy in all but 
name. That Parliament alone could grant a subsidy was a 
doctrine which no Englishman would be likely directly to deny, 
and which few Englishmen not living under the immediate 
shadow of the Court would be likely even indirectly to deny. 

Wentworth, however, as usual contented himself with passive 

opposition. His old rival, Sir John Savile, threw himself into 

the vacancy which Wentworth had made, and was 

The forced . , . ., . , - . , 

loan in York- able to report in April that the success of the loan in 
Yorkshire was entirely owing to his exertions. 1 For 
the present Wentworth was suffered to stand aloof, taking his 
ease at his ancestral manor of Wentworth Woodhouse. At 
last, as the summer wore on, he was summoned before the 
Council, answered courteously but firmly that he would not 
lend, and was placed under restraint. Before the end of June 
he was sent into confinement in Kent The last resource of 
the King was to banish the leading opposers of the loan to 
counties as far away as possible from their own homes. 2 

At Court the views which prevailed on the subject of the 

1 Savile to Buckingham, April 4, 1627, S. P. Dom. lix. 35, 

2 Council Register^ June 16, 20, 27, 29. Manchester to the King, 
July 5, S. P. Dom. Ixx. 32. 


war with France were diametrically opposed to those which 
commended themselves to Wentworth. Charles did 


Charles's not indeed either abandon his wish to recover the 
theTa^with Palatinate or conceal from himself the hindrance 
France. which a French war would be to the accomplishment 
of that design ; but he was deeply persuaded that, whatever 
the consequences might be, he could not act otherwise than he 
Believes had done. Hi? explanation of the whole matter was 
teto e ughtby ve r y s i m P^ e - Richelieu had at first meant well. But 
the Pope, he was a priest after all. He had been bribed by 
the Court of Rome with an offer of the high position of Papal 
Legate in France, to set his whole mind upon the extirpation 
of the Huguencts. 

If such an estimate of Richelieu's character strikes those 
who hear of it at the present day as too monstrous to have been 
seriously entertained, it must not be forgotten that good judges 
of character are rare, and that Charles had neither the mate- 
rials before him which are in our days accessible in profusion, 
nor the dispassionate judgment which would have enabled 
him to extract the truth from what materials he had. 

and himself _ . . . , TT . . 

to have been On one point he was quite clear. He himself 
always nght. haa been always in fa e ^g^ The treaty between 

P'rance and England had been directly violated by the seizures 
of English ships and goods in France. What had been done 
in England had been a necessity of State policy. The Queen's 
household had intrigued with the English Catholics and had 
sown distrust between himself and his wife. Basspmpierre 
had set matters straight, but had been disavowed by Louis in a 
fit of ill-temper. 1 

If Charles and his ministers misunderstood the motives and 
underrated the difficulties of the great statesman with whom 
Hasnodoubt tne X na< ^ to do, they were equally blind to the secret 
nes l sof weak " ^ n * s P ower - They watched the struggles of the 
France. inhabitants of Rochelle, and fancied that strength was 
there. They watched the seething discontent of the French 

1 This is the main result of the language used by Holland to Contarini 
in giving an account of the opinion prevailing at Court. Contarini to the 
Doge, - Ven - Transcripts, R. 


aristocracy, and fancied that strength was there. They thought 
that they had but to strike hard enough, and the overthrow of 
the Cardinal would be the work of a few months. They did not 
see that they were aiming, not at the abasement of a minister 
but at the disintegration of a nation, and that the effective 
strength of the nation would fly in the face of the audacious 
foreigners who based their calculations on its divisions. 

In one point Charles was not deceived. The French had 

nothing afloat which could look the English Navy in the face. 

In March Pennington was let loose upon the French 


Pennington shipping, 1 and English cruisers swept the seas from 
ifonch Calais to Bordeaux. The goods on boa *\1 the prizes 
shipping. were go j d w i t h ou t delay. The effect was instan- 
taneous. In the winter sailors and soldiers alike had been on 
the verge of mutiny. Rioters had thronged the streets of 
London, crying out upon the Duke for the pay of which they 
had been defrauded. Before the summer came the prepara- 
tions for the great expedition were going gaily forward. There 
was money in hand to pay the men for a time, and to buy pro- 
visions. France, it seemed, would provide the means for her 
own ruin. 

Buckingham was this time to go himself in command. 

Februar ^'^ ^e prospect of increased responsibility, even 

Bucking- he looked uneasily at the enormous forces of the 

ture S S to Ver two great monarchies which he and his master 

had provoked. He determined to make overtures 

to Spain. 

The proposal was not to be made through any accredited 
agent of the Crown. In proportion as the policy of the Eng- 
lish Government came to revolve round the favourite minister, 
there sprang up a new swarm of courtier-like diplomatists, 
whose chief qualification for employment was to be found in 
their dependence on the great Duke. Such a one was Edward 
Clarke, who had been employed on many a delicate mission 
by Buckingham, and who had been reprimanded by the 
Commons at Oxiord on account of the indecent warmth with 

1 Instructions to Pennington, March 3, u, 12, S. P. Dom. Ivi. 18, 


which he defended his patron. Such a one too was Balthazar 
Gerbier and Gerbier, architect and connoisseur, born in Zealand 
Rubens o f F rencn refugee parents, 1 and settled in England a 
man at home in every nation and specially attached to none. In 
1625 he had accompanied Buckingham to Paris, and had there 
met Rubens, who was engaged to paint Buckingham's portrait, 
and who coveted the distinction of a diplomatist as well as that 
of a painter. Rubens then talked fluently to the Duke of the ad- 
vantages to England of peace with Spain ; but as yet the tongue 
of the great artist had no charm for Buckingham. The Cadiz 
expedition, with all its expected triumphs, was still before him. 
In January, 1627, Gerbier was again in Paris, where ha 
l627> seems again to have met Rubens, who held much 
January. fa Q same language as he had done two years before. 2 
Buckingham, when he heard what had been said, resolved to 
avail himself of the opportunity offered to him, but, to do him 
Febma justice, when he now sent Gerbier to Brussels to 
Buckingham take up the broken thread of these conversations, it 

hopes to gain ji j , r i n- 1-11 

everything was no cowardly desertion of his allies which he was 
rom Spam. p] ann j n g j us t as w hen he made war with Spain he 
was sanguine enough to suppose that he could get everything 
he wanted by plunging into war, so now that he was ready to 
make peace, he was sanguine enough to expect to get every- 
Gerbier's thing he wanted for the mere asking. Gerbier was 
proposals. ostensibly to open negotiations for the purchase of 
a collection of pictures and antiques, but in reality to propose 
that a suspension of arms should be agreed upon with a view 
to peace. This suspension of arms was to include the Dutch 
Republic and the King of Denmark. 

Such a proposal was doomed to rejection, unless Charles 
was ready to abandon the Dutch. With them Spain would 
make neither truce nor peace unless they would open the 
Scheldt, and tacitly abandon their claim to independence. 3 

1 Sainsbury, Papers relating to Rubfns, 316. 

a That the overture came from Rubens was afterwards slated by 
Buckingham, and is implied in an undated letter from Gerbier to Kubeas 
in the Archives at Brussels. 

3 The Infanta Isabella to Philip IV., Feb. i|, Brussels MSS. 



Rubens, of course, by the direction of the Infanta Isabella, re- 
Answer of plied courteously to Gerbier ; but he assured him, 
Rubens. ^th truth, 1 that the King of Spain had no longer 
any great influence in Germany, and could do nothing in a 
hurry about the King of Denmark. There would be a diffi- 
culty, too, about tie Dutch, who insisted upon receiving the 
title of independent States. The best thing would be to treat 
for a separate peace between Spain and England. If Charles, 
in short, would throw over his allies he would then see what 
Spain would think fit to do for him. 2 The claims put forward 
by Spain, were, however, out of all proportion to her strength. 
The siege of Breda had completely exhausted the treasury. 
Never, wrote the Infanta, had she been in such straits for 
money. If the enemy took the field she saw no means to 
resist him. 3 

Before the end of February Gerbier was in London, telling 

his story to Buckingham. Baltimore, the Calvert of earlier 

days, was for the first time since his dismissal from 

returns^ office summoned to consultation with the favourite. 

lon ' Buckingham failed to see that, at a time when Eng- 
land had ceased to have any terrors for Spain, it was madness 
to expect to impose on her such a peace as he designed. He 
joachimi sent Carleton to acquaint the Dutch ambassador, 
informed. Joachimi, with all that had passed. Joachimi was 
to be asked to consult the States-General, assuring them that 
nothing would be done without their consent. 

Joachimi was frightened. He could not understand how 
Buckingham could seriously expect, under the circumstances, 
to bring about a general pacification in Germany and the 
Netherlands, and he not unnaturally fancied that the proposal 
made to him was only the prelude to a separate peace between 
England and Spain. He was the more uneasy as Charles was 
absent at Newmarket, and he supposed, whether correctly or 

1 The Infanta's correspondence in the previous year, 1626, is full of 
accounts of an abortive attempt at an alliance with the Emperor. 
* Sainsl'ury, 68-76. 

1 The Infanta Isabella to Philip IV., March -, Brussels MSS. 


not cannot now be known, that Charles was to be kept in 
ignorance till it was too late for him to remonstrate. His 
suspicions were increased when he learned that Conway knew 
nothing about the matter, and that when that usually submis- 
sive Secretary was informed of what was passing, he burst out 
into angry talk, and actually called his ' most excellent patron ' 
a Judas. 

What Buckingham might have been induced to do, it is 

impossible to say. Most probably he had, as yet, no fixed 

design. At all events, if he had meant to keep the 

r CD. 2o# 

The King secret from Charles, he was now obliged to abandon 
consulted. the .^^ Taking Baltimore with him, he went to 
Newmarket, and invited all the Privy Councillors on the spot 
to discuss the matter in the King's presence. Their opinions 
were not favourable to the chances of the negotiation. Charles 
himself, though he would not refuse to listen to anything that 
the Spaniards might have further to say, positively declined to 
abandon either his brother-in-law or the States-General. It was 
Terms on finally arranged that Carleton should go as ambas- 
ne hi otiation sa ^or to the Hague, upon a special mission for which 
is to proceed, ft was eas y t o fi n( j an excuse. In reality he was 
to take the opportunity of persuading the Dutch to accept 
any reasonable offers of peace which might reach him from 
Brussels, and Gerbier was directed to inform Rubens that 
England would not treat apart from the States-General. The 
pacification of Germany might, however, be left to a separate 
negotiation. 1 

Whilst the Spanish Government was amusing England 
with negotiations which it had no expectation of being able 
Agreement to bring to a conclusion satisfactory to itself, 2 
FVanceand Oh'vares was making use of Buckingham's over- 
Spain. tures i n another direction. He showed his letters 
from Brussels to the French ambassador at Madrid, and, by 

1 Jcachimi to the States-General, March 3> 9 ' Add. MSS. 17,677, 

M, fol. 43, 48. Contarini to the Doge, j^iT , March -. Ven. Tran- 
thrifts, R. 0. Sainsbury, 76-80. 

Philip IV. to the Infanta Isabella, ~^?, Brussels MSS. 
M 2 


holding up before his eyes the unwelcome prospect of peace 

between Spain and England, frightened him into signing an 

engagement between France and Spain for common 

March 16. , . T-> i j T<I 

action against England. This engagement was at 
once ratified in Paris. 1 It was so clearly against the political 
interests of Spain to support the growing power of France, that 
it has generally been supposed that the Spanish Go 
vernment had no intention of fulfilling its promises. 
It has, however, been forgotten that at Madrid religious took 
precedence of political considerations. The letters written by 
Philip IV. at the time leave no doubt that he contemplated 
with delight the renewal of an alliance with a Catholic country, 
and that if he afterwards failed to assist Louis in his hour of 
danger, it was his poverty rather than his will that was at 
fault. 8 

Between Charles and Buckingham there was much in 
common. Both were ever sanguine of success, and inclined 
The war in to overlook the difficulties in their path. But whilst 
Germany. Buckingham was apt to fancy that he could create 
means to accomplish his ends, Charles was apt to fancy that 
he could accomplish his ends without creating means at all. 
In the midst of his preparations for war with France, he still 
thought it possible to intervene with effect in Germany. In the 
spring of 1627 there was indeed just a chance of retrieving 
Christian's defeat at Lutter if Charles could have given efficient 
support to his uncle. With the merely nominal support which 
he was now able to give, there was practically no chance at all. 
The one bright spot in Christian's situation was that for a 
time he had to contend with Tilly alone. Wallenstein was 
Wallenstein awa y m Hungary, keeping Mansfeld and Bethlen 
in Hungary. Gabor at bay. Before long, however, he reduced 
Rethlen Gabor to sue for peace. Mansfeld, hopeless of suc- 
cess, directed his course towards Venice, and died on the 
way. Wallenstein, relieved from danger, was thus enabled to 

Philip IV. to the Infanta Isabella, April ^ ^ ". Philip IV. to 
Mirabel, g^, Jlntsselt MSS. 

* Richelieu, Memoires, Ui. 282 ; Siri, Mem. Rec. vi. 257. 


bring back his troops to North Germany before the summer 
was over. Yet, if Charles had been an ally worth having at 
all, he would by that time have enabled Christian to strike 
a blow which might have changed the whole complexion of 

Charles had at his disposal only the four regiments which 
had been sent to defend the Netherlands in 1624. Their 
The four term f sery i ce was now expired. The offer to place 
regimenisfor th em a t the King of Denmark's service sounded 

the King of 

Denmark. iik e a mockery to Christian. He calculated that, by 
the treaty of the Hague, 6oo,ooo/. were now due to him from 
England, and Charles, who had no money to spare, offered to 
send him jewels instead. There was no demand for jewels in 
Denmark, and Christian complained bitterly. " Let God and 
the world," he said, "judge whether this be answerable or 
Christianlike dealing." 1 Even the four regiments were not 
what they ought to have been. They should have numbered 
6,000 men, but their commander, Sir Charles Morgan, 
reported in April that when the men were mustered 
to go on board ship at Enkhuisen, only 2,472 answered to their 
names. 2 The others had fallen a prey to the general disorga- 
nisation of the English administration. The pay had come in 
slowly. Many of the officers knew nothing of military service, 
and were living in England whilst the soldiers were left to their 
own devices in the Netherlands. 

Such as they were, the skeletons of the four regiments were 
shipped for the Elbe. From time to time recruits were sent 
They sail for ^ rom England to fill up their numbers. Men pressed 
the Elbe. against their will, and men sent abroad because they 
had refused to pay the loan, were expected to hold head 
against Tilly's triumphant veterans. With all the efforts of the 
English Government the numbers never reached their full 
complement. On June i, Morgan had not quite 5,000 undei 
his command. Disease and desertion soon thinned the ranks, 
and it was found impossible to keep up even that number. A 

1 Statement by the King of Denmark, Feb. 26, S. P. Denmark. 

* Morgan to Carleton, March 27 ; Memorial, April 7, S. P. Denmark. 


jewel which Charles sent proved entirely useless. It was valued 
at ioo,ooo/., but no one in Denmark would advance such 
a sum upon it 1 One more failure was about to be added to 
the many which had baffled the sanguine hopes of Bucking- 
ham and his master. 

1 Anstruther to Con way, June 16, J. P. Denmark. 




To fight in Germany still formed part of the plan of the English 
King, but his heart and, what was of still greater importance, 
the heart of the favourite was now elsewhere. 
Charles Charles was deeply wounded by the refusal of the 
ces P s e against C King of France to agree to Bassompierre's plan for 
France. y s household arrangements, and by Richelieu's evi- 
dent intention to make France powerful by sea. He fell into 
the mistake into which others have fallen before and after 
him, of fancying that any weapon was good enough to be used 
against a hostile Government, and that if he could raise a suffi- 
cient number of adversaries against Richelieu it would be un- 
necessary for him to inquire what cause they represented or 
what moral weight they possessed. 

That the French aristocracy were highly discontented with 
Richelieu was no secret to anyone, and Charles and Bucking- 
Montague's nam determined to send an agent to fan the flame 
mission. of their discontent. Walter Montague, the youngest 
son of the Earl of Manchester, one of those sprightly young 
men who sunned themselves in the light of Buckingham's 
favour, was selected for the mission. In Lorraine it was ex- 
pected that he would find the Duchess of Chevreuse, whose 
bright eyes and witty tongue were inspired by a genius for 
political intrigue, and who had been exiled from France in con- 
sequence of the part which she had taken against the Cardinal. 
She had been a partisan of the English alliance from the be- 
ginning, and it is believed that in 1624 she counted the English 


ambassador Holland amongst her numerous lovers. Bucking- 
nam now hoped that she would allure the Duke of Lorraine to 
attack France from the east, whilst the communications which 
she still kept up with her friends at home would be of service 
in preparing trouble for the French Government nearer Paris. 
Still greater hopes were founded on the Court of Turin. The 
restless Charles Emmanuel, who had spent his youth in attack- 
ing France and his middle age in attacking Spain, was now 
believed to be willing to turn his arms once more against his 
first enemy. With him was the Count of Soissons, a French 
Prince of the Blood, who disliked the government of the Car- 
dinal, and was pressing for a Savoyard force to enable him to 
invade his native country. 

Such were the allies with whose help Buckingham hoped to 
effect a diversion for his great enterprise. The great enterprise 
itself had something in it of a loftier strain. Cool reason may 
suggest that the continued independence of the French Pro- 
testants was in the long run likely to bring ruin on themselves ; 
but the dangers attending upon complete submission to a 
Catholic Government were so patent that wiser men than Buck- 
ingham might easily have become enthusiastic in the defence 
of Rochelle. For such a defence the time appeared favourable. 
The Duke of Rohan, whose authority was great in the south 
of France, was to raise the Protestants of Languedoc, and to 
welcome Soissons on the one side, whilst he gave his support 
to the Rochellese on the other. 1 

All through the spring preparations were going on in Eng- 
land. In the beginning of May the new levies which were to 
make up the wrecks of the Cadiz regiments to 8,000 ' 
Preparations men W6re beginning to gather round Portsmouth, 
in England. DU (; fa e reports which were sent to the Government 
were not encouraging. Of 200 furnished by the county of 
Hants, 120 were 'such base rogues' that it was useless to 
keep them. No money had been sent down to meet the 
wants of the men. 2 The troops gathered at Southampton and 

1 Buckingham's plans from time to time may be gathered far best from 
Contarini's despatches. 

2 Blundell to Buckingham, May i. S. P. Dom. Uxii. 6. 


Winchester were ready to mutiny for want of pay. 1 The 
deputy lieutenants, whose duty it was to collect the men and 
send them forward, were hard put to it to satisfy the King and 
their neighbours too. In Dorsetshire the Isle of Purbeck 
refused to send men at all, and the officials who had advanced 
the money required for the clothing and support of the levies 
on the march to Portsmouth, complained that the county had 
refused a rate for the purpose, and that they had heard nothing 
of any order from the Lord Treasurer for their repayment. 2 A 
few days later came a fresh order for 150 more men. The 
men were found, and were sent away amidst the tears and cries 
of their wives and children. On June 3, Sir John Borough, 
the old soldier who was going as second in command of the ex- 
pedition, wrote that the surgeons' chests were still unfurnished. 
A warrant had been given for the money, but it was not paid, 
nor likely to be. If men were to be expected to fight, care 
must be had to preserve them when they were hurt. Shirts, 
shoes, and stockings too were wanting, and the arms had not 
yet arrived. Yet he hoped that, when ' armed and clothed, the 
men would be fit to be employed.' 3 

In spite of every drawback, the armament, with the help of 

the French prize-money, was approaching completion. The 

King went down to Portsmouth to see the fleet, 

June ii. . 

The King at dined on board the Admiral's ship, and talked merrily 

Portsmouth. ^^ ^ prospects of the voyage> 4 The Duke fol . 

lowed soon afterwards, boasting as he went of what he would 
do to re-establish the reputation of the English Navy, which 
had been tarnished by the failure at Cadiz and by Willoughby's 
disaster. 8 

The instructions issued to Buckingham were dated on 
June ip. 6 The view which Charles took of his relations to the 

1 Mason to Nicholas, May 7, ibid. Ixii. 70. 

2 Dc-puty Lieutenants of Dorsetshire to the Council, May 30, June 8, 
ibid. Ixv. 19, Ixvi. 41. 

1 Burgh to Buckingham, June 3, ibid. Ixvi. 19. 

4 Mason to Nicholas, June u, ibid. Ixvi. 67. 

5 Contarini to the Dog'e, June Iq , Ven. Transcripts > R. O. 

Instructions to Buck ngham, June 19, S. P. Dom. Ixvii. 57. 


French Government was very much the same as that which he 
June 19. had taken of his relations to the House of Commons, 
ham^n-" ^ ot ^ ^ a d urged him to war with Spain. Both, for 
structions. their own objects, had basely deserted him. As Sey- 
mour, Phelips, and Eliot wished to make themselves masters of 
England, Richelieu wished to make himself master of the sea. 
Charles was therefore only acting in self-defence. " Our nearest 
allies," he maintained, " even those who have counselled us to 
the same war, have taken advantage to encroach upon our 
rights, to ruin our friends, and to root out that religion whereof 
by just title we are the defender. Our resolution therefore is, 
under the shield of God's favour, to prosecute our just defence." 
Buckingham was therefore to consider as his first business 
how to suppress all attempts on the part of Spain or France 
to interfere with English commerce and to destroy or capture 
the ships of either nation. Secondly, he was to conduct to 
Rochelle certain regiments which were needed by the French 
Protestants in consequence of the refusal of Louis to carry out 
the stipulations of the treaty of the preceding year. He was to 
explain to the Rochellese that there was no intention of raising 
a rebellion in France on any pretence of English interests, but 
that he was come on hearing that they were shortly to be be- 
sieged in defiance of the treaty, for the maintenance of which 
the King of England's honour had been engaged. He was 
then to ask them if they still required assistance, and were 
willing to enter into mutual engagements with England. If 
the answer was ' negative or doubtful,' all the land soldiers not 
needed for other purposes were to be sent back to England. If 
the answer was in the affirmative, the troops were to be handed 
over to Soubise, who was to accompany the expedition. Buck- 
ingham was then to go on with the fleet to recover the English 
vessels detained at Bordeaux, and, having made good his claim 
to the mastery of the sea on the coast of France, was to pass on 
to break up the trade between Spain and the West Indies and 
between Spain and Flanders. After scouring the coasts of Spain 
and Portugal, he was, if he thought fit, to despatch divisions 
of his fleet to the Mediterranean, to the Azores, and even to 
Newfoundland, in search of French or Spanish prizes. 


Such were the instructions, drawn up doubtless with Buck- 
ingham's full concurrence, under which the fleet was to sail. In 
them the aid to Rochelle is mentioned almost in an apologetic 
manner, as if it were only secondary to the greater object of 
maintaining the dominion of the seas. It may be that doubts 
were already entertained at the English Court of the extent to 
which any meddling with the French national feeling was likely 
to find favour in France. At all events it was already rumoured 
in London that not a few amongst the Huguenot population of 
the South were unwilling to join a foreign invader against their 
own sovereign, and that doubts had been expressed even in 
Rochelle itself of the feasibility of resisting the forces opposed 
to the city with the aid of such help as Buckingham, variable 
and inconstant as he was, was likely to bring to its succour. 1 

On June 27 the fleet, numbering some hundred sail, and 
carrying 6,000 foot and 100 horse, 2 left Stokes Bay with a 
Sailing of the favourable wind. Except a few Dunkirkers, who 
made all haste to escape, Buckingham saw nothing of 
any enemy. The first part of the Admiral's instructions, which 
enjoined upon him the duty of sweeping the Spaniards and 
French from the seas, could not be fulfilled because Spaniards 
and French alike kept carefully within their ports. A poetaster 
of the day seized the glorious opportunity of declaring that King 
Charles was superior to Edward III. or Elizabeth. Whilst they 
had only conquered their enemies, he found no enemy willing 
to meet him. 3 

1 Contarini to the Doge, May T -, Ven. Trans -rifts, J?. O. 
" Herbert (Philobiblon Society's edition), 46. The common soldiers 
embarked numbered 5,934. S. /'. Dom. Ixxxii. 431. 

* May (S. P. Dum. Ixviii. 74) made Neptune address the King 

" I saw third Edward stain my flood 
By Sluys with slaughtered Frenchmen's blood : 

And from Eliza's fleet 
I saw the vanquished Spaniards fly. 
But 'twas a greater mastery, 

No foe at all to meet ; 
When they, without their ruin or dispute, 
Confess thy reign as sweet as absolute." 


On the evening of July 10, Buckingham cast anchor off St. 
Martin's, the principal town of the Isle of Rlie", lying on the 
July 10 snore towards the mainland, and guarded by the new 
Buckingham fort which had been recently erected, and which, 
with the smaller fort of La Free on the island and 
with Fort Louis on the mainland, served to hold in check the 
commerce of Rochelle. The next day was spent in 
collecting the fleet as it came in, and in battering 
La Pre"e. On the morning of the i2th a council of 
war was held. Sir William Becher, accompanied by 
Soubise and an agent of Rohan, was to go to Rochelle to dis- 
cover whether the citizens would accept the hand held out to 
them. The English troops were to be landed at once upon the 

There were reasons apart from the decision of the Rochellese 
which made Buckingham anxious to place himself in possession 
of Rhe. If only it could be brought into English hands it 
would be a thorn in the side of the rising French commerce. 
Its ports within the still waters of the strait which divided it 
from the mainland would be an admirable gathering-place for 
English privateers, whilst its situation in the close neighbour- 
hood of the Protestant populations of Southern France would 
open the door to a skilful use of religious and political intrigue. 
Its salt marshes too, which were in high repute all over Europe, 
would offer a valuable source of revenue to the English ex- 

In the afternoon the preparations for. landing near the 

eastern point of the island were completed. Buckingham, on 

his first day of actual warfare, showed no lack of 

1 'he landing. . . . ,,. TT . .. , 

spirit or intelligence. He was to be found every- 
where, listening to information and urging on the men. When 
the troops descended into the boats it was evident that opposi- 
tion would be offered. Toiras, the Governor of St. Martin's, 
the commander who had insidiously broken peace with Rochelle 
two years before, had collected a force of some 1,200 J foot and 
200 horse to dispute the landing of the English. Covered by 

1 The numbers vary in different accounts from one to more than two 


the fire of the ships the boats put off. The great defect of 
the English army was at once made manifest. There was no 
cohesion amongst the men, no tradition of customary discipline. 
There were some who hastened to take up their place in rank 
as good soldiers should. There were others, and that too not 
merely raw recruits, who, weary with the long voyage, lingered 
on shipboard and turned a deaf ear to the orders of their 
commanders, or who, even when they reached the shore, hung 
about the water's edge dabbling their hands in the waves. 
Among this helpless mass Buckingham, cudgel in hand, went 
to and fro, ' beating some and threatening others.' When two 
regiments were on shore, he had to throw himself into a boat 
and go back to do the like on shipboard. Sir William Court- 
ney's regiment had refused to leave their safe position in the 
vessels, and without the personal presence of the Duke nothing 
could be done. 1 

Toiras saw his opportunity. The French horse charged 
down upon the disordered clusters, and drove them headlong 
into the sea. Many a brave man, carried away by the rush, 
perished in the waters. The two colonels, Sir John Burgh 
and Sir Alexander Brett, did their duty well. Buckingham, 
perceiving what had happened, hurried back to the post of 
danger. At last a line was formed, and before the French in- 
fantry had time to come up, the horsemen, leaving on the 
ground nearly half their number, many of them bearing some 
of the noblest names in France, drew off from the unequal 
combat. It was thought in the English ranks that, if the 
enemy's foot had hastened up, the day must have gone other- 
wise than it did. 

Of personal bravery Buckingham had shown that 

The march / .... 

towards St. he possessed his full share, and m his march towards 

St. Martin's he gave proof of that consideration for 

the needs and feelings of others which is no slight element of 

1 The account of the early history of the expedition is taken from 
Graham's journal (S. P. Dom. Ixxi. 65) compared with another journal 
(ibid. Ixxi. 60), and the printed books of Herbert (The Expedition to the 
Isle of Rhe], Philobiblon Society's edition ; Isnard (Arcis Sammartiniana 
Obsidio) ; Le Mercure Francois, torn. 13, &c. 


success. He refused a large sum of money offered him for the 
ransom of the bodies of the slain Frenchmen, and allowed 
them to be taken freely away by their friends for burial. He 
tended his wounded enemies as if they had been his own per- 
sonal friends. Not content with issuing the usual orders against 
pillage, he directed that none of his soldiers should even enter 
a village, and he himself set an example to men less delicately 
nurtured than himself, by sleeping under a cloak in the open 
fields. He neglected nothing which would conduce to the 
comfort of his men. With his own eyes he took care to see 
that the provisions were landed in due time, and on one occa- 
sion he risked his life to save a poor wretch who had been left 
on a sandbank surrounded by the rising tide. 

If only military and political capacity had been granted 
to Buckingham, he might well have become the idol of his 
soldiers ; but already the unstable foundations on which his en- 
terprise was raised were beginning to make themselves manifest. 
Answer from Before he reached St. Martin's he knew that the 
Rocheiie. Rochellese, instead of springing into his arms at a 
word, were doubtful and hesitating. Soubise thought that they 
were like slaves too long held in captivity to venture to claim 
their freedom. Becher thought that the magistrates had been 
bribed by the King of France. But whatever the explanation 
might be, the fact was certain that they would not stir till they 
had consulted their brother Huguenots in the interior of the 
country. A miserable handful of eighteen volunteers, gradually 
swelling to 250 men, was all that Rocheiie had to offer to her 
self-constituted deliverer. 1 

According to the letter of the Admiral's instructions, he 
should have turned elsewhere as soon as he found that no reaJ 
support was to be expected from Rocheiie ; but it was one 
thing for Buckingham to contemplate in England the abandon- 
ment of the main object of the expedition, it was another thing 
for him to turn his back upon the enemy in the Isle of Rhe. 

1 Soubise to Buckingham, July ^| (not '^ y ", as calendared). Becher 's 
Journal. Symonds to Nicholas, Aug. 15, S. P. Dotn. Ixii. 74, Ixxii. 22 ; 
i. Ixxiv. 9. Mem. de Rohan, 21 1. 


He resolved, unsupported as he was, to remain on the island, 
and to push on the siege of the fort of St. Martin's. 

At first all seemed to promise well. Guns were landed and 
placed in position and the English officers hoped to reduce 
r the place in a short time. A fortnight later they 
St. Martin's were of another mind. The fort was well garrisoned 
besieged. an( j v jg Orous iy defended. The soil around was rocky 
and ill-suited for the operations of a siege. What was worse 
still, there was no longer any cordial co-operation between 
Buckingham and his chief officers. Men who had served in 
the hard school of actual warfare were restless under the 
command of a novice, and the Duke, with his resolute desire 
to look into everything with his own eyes, may easily have 
given offence without any intention of being overbearing to 
those beneath him. Whilst his own forces were diminishing, 
the French armies were gathering around. Ships were fitting 
out along the coast, and a land army, under the Duke of 
Angouleme, was firmly established in the neighbourhood of 

To do him justice, Buckingham saw clearly into the heart 
of the situation. He knew that his chance of obtaining auxi- 
liaries in France depended entirely upon his success or failure 
at St. Martin's. If force failed, a blockade must be kept up 
till the fortress surrendered from sheer starvation, and if this 
was to be done in the face of the threatened succour from the 
mainland, reinforcements of every kind must be sent from 
England, and that soon. 1 

By the middle of August the works surrounding the fort 
had been completed. On the sea side the passage was guarded 
August. by the fleet, and a floating boom was thrown round 
?urne S dmtoa ^ l an ding-place to make ingress impossible. In 
blockade. order that hunger might do its work the more speedily, 
the wives and female relations of the soldiers of the garrison 
were collected from the town on the nth, and driven towards 
the fort. They were told that if they returned they would be 

1 De Vic to Conway, July 27 ; Buckingham to Conway, July 2%, 
Hardwicke S. P. ii. 23, 27. 


put to death without mercy. Toiras at first turned a deaf ear 
to the cries of these miserable creatures ; but the English 
soldiers knew how to appeal to him in a way which he was 
unable to resist. Again and again they fired into the midst of 
the shrieking crowd. One at least, a mother with a child at her 
breast, was killed on the spot. The demands of the fathers, hus- 
bands, and brothers within could no longer be resisted, and the 
fort received the helpless fugitives, to burden yet more its failing 
resources. 1 After this barbarity, excused doubtless in the eyes 
of the English officers as a necessity of war, there is little satis- 
faction in reading how the commanders corresponded with one 
another in terms of high-flown courtesy, how Buckingham sent 
to Toiras a present of a dozen melons, and how Toiras returned 
the compliment by sending some bottles of citron-flower water 
to his assailant. 

It was well known in the English camp that the resources 
of the besieged were limited; but the numbers of the besiegers, 
too, were wasting away, and it was uncertain whether they 
would be able to hold out long enough to enforce the hoped-for 

surrender. Reinforcements were therefore absolutely 
ments r needed, all the more because there was little prospect 

of aid from the allies from whom so much had been 

The Duke of Lorraine had listened to Montague, but had 
done no more. The Duke of Savoy was thinking of designs 
upon Geneva and Genoa, and wanted the aid of an English 
army before he would stir. Soissons asked that some strong 
place Sedan, Stenay, or Orange might be given up to him 
before he moved, and that he might marry a daughter of 
the titular King of Bohemia, with a rich provision from her 
uncle the King of England. Rohan was agitating the South 
of France, and promised to take the field in September or 

1 Isnard, ioi. Herbert (84") makes light of the whole matter, talks as 
though the Duke had performed an office of piety in sending the women to 
their husbands, and suggests that if any were shot it was by the French. 
Uut a letter from the camp says coolly : ' Afterwards they were often shot 
at by our men.' Symonds to Nicholas, Aug. 15, S, P. Dom. Ixxiv. 9. 


October. 1 Whilst the aid upon which Buckingham had counted 
was not forthcoming, Rochelle promised to be a burden rather 
than a support. The neutral position which the citizens had 
taken up was fast becoming untenable. No French commander 
could endure to leave them unassailed whilst an English army 
was on the Isle of Rhe. Angouleme accordingly let them 
know that they must make up their minds. They must be 
subjects of the King of France or subjects of the King of 
England. The Rochellese upon this began to draw closer to 
Buckingham ; but they approached him to ask for succour, not 
to offer him assistance. 2 

Louder and louder grew Buckingham's entreaties for aid 
;'rom home. Men and provisions were diminishing sadly, and 
the work was still undone. His own personal risks he could 
pass over lightly, and he scarcely mentioned the danger which 
he had run from a French deserter who had attempted to 
assassinate him ; but the army under his command must not 
be neglected. 3 

A sanguine miscalculation of the state of feeling in France 
had left Buckingham isolated in the Isle of Rhe\ Had he not 
equally miscalculated the state of feeling at home ? 

Of one thing at least he might be sure. The King would 
stand by him stoutly. The quarrel with France was as much 
j u , Charles's as Buckingham's. No sooner therefore 
The King's had the fleet left Portsmouth than Charles threw 
supporTthe himself with unwonted vigour into the conduct of 
expedition. a ff a j rs> Up to this t i me he had been content to leave 
everything to Buckingham's energetic impulse. If be appeared 
on rare occasions at the Council table, it was but to give the 
sanction of his authority to schemes which Buckingham would 

1 Montague's relation, July 5 ; Instructions to Montague, July 13, S. P. 

Savoy. Rohan to Soubise, {^-^, S. P. France. 

' Aug. 8 

2 De Vic to Con way, Aug. 14, Hardwicke S. P. ii. 35. 

* Buckingham to Nicholas, Aug. 14 [?], ffarduiicke S, P. ii. 34. 
Buckingham to Becher, Aug. 14; Symonds to Nicholas, Aug. 15. An ac- 
count of what happened at Rhe, Aug. 15, S. P. Dom. Ixxiii. 91, Ixxv. 53 ; 
i. Ixxiv. 9, 10. 



have to carry into effect. In Buckingham's absence the duty 
of rousing the sluggish from their apathy and directing the 
energies of the active devolved upon him alone. 

As far as urgency went Charles left little to be desired by 
his favourite. Marlborough and Weston, whose business it was, 
as Treasurer and Chancellor of the Exchequer, to furnish 
supplies, were not long in feeling the application of the spur. 
"I will not think," wrote Charles on July 17, "that 
now, in my absence, delaying answers will serve me," 
Ten days later, rinding that nothing had been done, he sent 
Carlisle to see what they were about. " I confess," he com- 
plained, "these delays make me impatient even almost beyond 
patience, if I did not hope that the goodness of your answer 
should in some measure recompense the slowness of it. One 
item, and so an end. Let not my monies go wrong ways." ' 

Such exhortations were of little avail. Charles could call 
upon others to do the work, but he had no practical suggestion 

Difficulties ^ kis own to gi ye - Yet the position of the Ex- 
oftheEx- chequer was one in which a single practical sueges- 

chequer. . 111 , 

tion would be worth a whole torrent of exhorta- 
tions. The great source which had made the fitting out of 
the expedition possible the sale of French prize goods 
had suddenly dried up. The supremacy of the English at sea 
was so complete that the enemy's vessels refused to venture 
from their harbours. The only resource left was the loan 
money. Since Buckingham's departure the loan money had 
been gathered in with a more unsparing hand. Many gentle- 
men in custody were sent into places of confinement in counties 
as far distant from their own homes as possible, so as to be a 
standing token of his Majesty's displeasure, and fresh batches 
erf refusers were summoned before the Council. 2 For the present 
this rough discipline was successful. A large part of the loan 
was paid, grudgingly and angrily no doubt, but still it was paid. 
On July 17, 24o,ooc/. had thus come into the Exchequer. 3 

1 The King to Marlborough and Weston, July l - 7 ; printed by Mr. Bruce 
in his Calendar of State Paters, Preface, viii. 

2 Holies to Wentworth, Aug. 9, Strafford Letters, \. 40. 
* Manchester to Conway, July 17, S. P. Doni. Ixxi 25. 


It was like pouring water on the sand. The money was 
paid out as soon as it was paid in. io,ooo/. a month by esti- 
mate, amounting to nearer i2,ooo/. in practice, 1 had to be paid 
for Sir Charles Morgan's troops in the Danish service, and 
claims of all kinds arising from the fitting out of the expedition 
had to be paid by the help of the loan. 

Immediately upon the sailing of the fleet the Council had 
come to the conclusion that 2,000 recruits should be levied, and 
some days later it was agreed to be necessary to spend I2,6i5/. 
upon provisions for the seamen already at Rhe. 2 The money was 
not to be found. Marlborough was too old to lay the difficulty 
very deeply to heart, and took refuge in telling all applicants 
for payment that their case would be taken into consideration 
to-morrow. 3 VVeston growled over every penny he was called 
upon to spend, but was powerless to raise supplies from an 
alienated nation. Ordinary applicants for money due to them 
were driven to despair. One of them declared that when he 
waited on the Lord Treasurer he was treated ' like a cur sent 
by a dog,' and ordered out of the room : when he applied to 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer he was set upon like a bear 
tied to the stake. 4 The King could not be treated thus ; but 
if he met with more civil treatment, he did not get more money 
than his subjects. 

On August i Charles wrote again. Becher had come from 
Rh to urge on the reinforcements. The Council had at last 
August. despatched orders for the levy of the 2,000 men, 
urgency of an< ^ tnere was a ta ^ f finding half the sum needed 
the King. f or th e provisions for the sailors. 5 Charles took 
even this as a promise of better things, and charged his 
officers to go on in the course they were pursuing. " For if," 
he wrote, " Buckingham should not now be supplied, not in 
show but substantially, having so bravely, and, I thank God, 

1 Manchester to the King, July 20, S. P. Dom. Ixxi. 44. 

2 Manchester to the King, June 29 ; Estimate for victuals, July 5, ibid. 
Ixviii. 28, Ixx. 37. 

* Coke to Conway, June 20, ibid. Ixvii. 76. 

4 Belou to Conway, July (?) July 30 (? , ibid. Ixx. I, Ixxii. 41. 

Coke to Conway, July 31, .S'. P. Dom. Ixxii. 4^ 

N 9 


successfully begun his expedition, it were an irrecoverable 
shame to me and all this nation ; and those that either hinders, 
or, according to their several places, furthers not this action as 
much as they may, deserves to make their end at Tyburn, or 
some such place ; but I hope better things of you." l 

Something at last was to come of all these consultations. 
The King was able to announce to Buckingham on August 13, 
that in eight days Becher would sail with provisions 
ments and 400 recruits, as well as with i4,ooo/. of ready 

money. Two thousand men were to follow on Sep- 
tember 10. Two thousand more were getting ready in Scotland. 2 
Besides this, a fresh force of about the same number was in an 
advanced state of preparation. 

The King's calculations had outstripped reality. More than 
three weeks passed before the money was actually provided, 3 
Progress of ano ^ contrary winds prevented Becher from sailing till 
the siege. September 16. He arrived at the Isle of Rhe on the 
25th. 4 An Irish regiment had anticipated him, and had joined 
the army in the beginning of the month. 5 

When Becher landed, matters were looking more hopefully 
for the besiegers. The recruits had done something towards 
filling up the gaps in the English ranks. Food was known to 
be scarce within the citadel, and desertions were becoming 
numerous. Buckingham, at least, cannot be accused of mis- 
understanding the requirements of his position. Everything, 
he knew, depended upon keeping up the strength of the army 
and stopping the ingress of supplies by sea. He erected a 
floating battery to watch the sea face of the fort, and when this 
was broken down by the violence of the waves he barred the 
passage with a strong boom which, though it was in its turn 

1 The King to Marlborough and Western ; Calendar of Domestic State 
Papers, Preface, ix. 

2 The King to Buckingham, Aug. 13, Hardwicke S. P. 17, 13. 

3 Long to Nicholas, Aug. 18, S. P. Dom. Ixxiv. 40, 74, 81. Conway 
to Coke, Aug. 22 ; the King to Marlborough and Weston, Aug. 23. 

4 Becher to Conway, Sept. 27, ibid, xxv. iii. 16. Hard-wicke S, P. 
ii. 46. 

5 Sir E. Conway to Conway, Sept. 4, Hardwire S. P. Ixxvi. 26. 


snapped by the beating waters, was subsequently replaced by a 
barrier of hawsers stretched from ship to ship. 

These failures increased the gloom which was spreading in 
.he army. Sir John Borough, Buckingham's second in command, 
_ , had been killed by a shot. The hot words which had 


Difficulties caused a. rupture between him and the Duke had 
been long ago forgiven, and the two had worked 
together in the face of difficulty. Buckingham did not conceal 
from himself the extent of the danger. The French army was 
gathering on the opposite coast, and if it should effect a landing 
before the fort surrendered, he would hardly be able to meet it. 
One attempt at negotiation was tried by Buckingham. Sending 
his kinsman Ashburnham to Paris, on September 4, he made 
overtures for peace. The suggestion was taken by the French 
Government as a confession of weakness. Ashburnham was 
told that as long as an English soldier stood upon French soil, 
no peace was to be had. 1 Even before this answer reached 
Buckingham he was crying out for further reinforcements to be 
sent at all costs. 2 "The army," wrote Sir Edward Conway on 
September 20 to his father the Secretary, "grows every day 
weaker ; our victuals waste, our purses are empty, ammunition 
consumes, winter grows, our enemies increase in number and 
power ; we hear nothing from England." 3 

A week later confidence had returned. With the excep- 
tion of a few boats which had slipped in from time to time, 
all attempts at victualling St. Martin's had hitherto being baffled. 
Deserters were thrust back into the fort, to increase the number 
of mouths. On the 25th a request that a gentleman might be 
sent out ' to treat of a matter of importance,' was refused unless 
he came to treat for a surrender. All men in the English camp 
Sept. 27. were ' full of hope and confidence.' On the 27th the 
Proposed offer to surrender was actually made. The officers 

surrender of * 

the fort. who brought it were to come back in the afternoon 
to specify the conditions. When the appointed hour arrived, a 

1 hnard, 135. Herbert, 5. 19. Richelieu to Louis XIII., Sept. 2O ; 
Richelieu to Toiras, Sept. 22, Lettres de Richelieu, ii. 609, 620. 
- Butkingham to the King, Sept. 19, Hardiuicke S. P. ii. 45. 
1 Sir E. Con way to Conway, Sept. 20, S. P. Dom. Ixxviii. 71. 


message was brought asking for a further delay till the next 
morning. 1 In three days more the provisions of the defenders 
would be exhausted. 2 

Much, however, might be done before the next morning 
dawned. A flotilla of thirty-five boats had been hindered by 
contrary winds from attempting to bring relief to the garrison. 
On the 2yth, while Toiras was negotiating, the wind changed 
and blew strongly from the north-west. The night was dark and 
gloomy, and the waves were running high. About three hours 
after midnight, the Frenchmen, guided by beacon fires within 
Se t 28 ^ e * rt ' Cashed m to the heart of the English fleet. 
The fort Buckingham, roused by the firing, hurried on board. 
The combat was carried on almost at hazard in the 
thick gloom. At one point the hawsers which defended the 
passage were severed, and twenty-nine boats laden with supplies 
succeeded in depositing their precious burden under the walls 
of the fortress. After morning dawned a fire-ship was sent in 
after them by the besiegers ; but the wind had dropped and the 
garrison had no difficulty in thrusting off the dangerous as- 
sailant. In the afternoon a second fire-ship was let loose, with 
much the same result. Buckingham had all his work to re- 
commence. 3 

On the 29th a council of war was summoned to consider 
what was now to be done. The citadel had been fur- 

bept. 29. 

A council of nished with supplies which would last for more than 
r o a abSdon S a month. The delay could not be a long one. Yet 
the siege. ^g p ros p e cts of the besiegers were not promising. 
Sickness was making sad havoc in the ranks, and there were 

1 Becher to Conway, Oct. 3, Hardwicke S, P. ii. 48. Isnard (157) 
spreads the negotiation over the 27th and 28th. 

* Letter from the French camp, Oct. , S. P. France. 

3 Eecher to Conway, Oct. 3, Hardwicke S. P. ii. 48. Symonds to 
Ashburnham, Oct. 4, S. P. Dom. Ixxx. 43. Letter from the French camp, 
Oct. 8 , S. P. France. Herbert, 145. fsnard, 157. I give the number of 


boats ente.rinp; from the French letter, which is in accordance with Isnard. 
The writer had the information from Audoin, who led them in. The 
English fancied only 14 or 15 had got through. The dates I give from 
Symouds. Becher gives the 28th wrot'gh as the day of the offer of sur- 


only 5,000 men fit for duty. The winter was coming on, and it 
would be harder than ever to watch the access to the fort ; 
provisions were growing scarce, and as only unground corn had 
been sent out, 1 whenever the wind lulled the windmills were 
rendered useless and the men were all but starved. The French 
forces on the mainland were gathering thickly, and an attempt 
to relieve the ganison might be expected at any moment. 

On these grounds the council of war unanimously voted for 
giving up the attempt. Buckingham reluctantly gave his con- 
sent, and part of the siege material was carried on board ship. 
Before long new considerations were presented. Soubise and 
the Rochellese pleaded hard for delay. Their town was by 
this time girt about with the entrenchments of the Royal army, 
and they knew that they must make their choice between sub- 
mission to their own King and a thorough alliance with Eng- 
land. They offered to find quarters in the city for a thousand 
sick men, to supply the troops with provisions, and to send 
boats to assist in guarding the approach to St. Martin's. Nor 
did the offer of the Rochellese stand alone. Dulbier, Mans- 
feld's old commissary-general, who was now Buckingham's chief 
military adviser, brought news from England that the long- 
wished-for reinforcements would soon be on the way. The 
Earl of Holland was coming with supplies in men and money 
which would make the army safe for the winter. 2 

The council of war was again summoned on Oc- 
it retracts tober 3. With only one dissentient voice it retracted 
its former decision and voted for a continuance of 
the siege. 3 

The resolution thus taken has been severely criticised. It 
is possible that the officers may have yielded, against their better 
judgment, to Buckingham's urgency ; but even if this were the 

' Like the green coffee afterwards sent to the Crimea. 

* Becher to Con way, Oct. 3 ; De Vic to Con way, Oct. 12, Hardwicke 
S. P. ii. 48, 51. Herbert, 154. 

3 This, which is distinctly staled in Bicher's letter, puts an end to the 
theory, hitherto, I believe, generally accepted, that Buckingham remained 
on the island in opposition to the officers. Their vote may have been re- given, but given it undoubtedly was. 


case it would have been hard to affirm that the military situation 
was already desperate. October had been marked out for 
Rohan's rising, and if that rising were to take place, the French 
commanders, with a fortified city before them, would be in no 
position to send further aid to St. Martin's. Even if Rohan's 
rising came to nothing, Holland's reinforcement, if it really 
arrived, would place any landing of French troops out of the 
question. The 6,000 foot and 300 horse which the enemy 
was preparing to throw upon the Isle of Rhe, would indeed 
be a formidable diversion to Buckingham's 5,000 soldiers ; 
but they would be powerless in the face of the 13,000 which 
the army was expected to number upon Holland's arrival ; l 
and, indeed, there is every reason to believe that if tho rein- 
forcements had been furnished promptly no attempt would 
have been made by the French to land troops on the island at 
all. 2 The only question would, then, be whether, with greater 
care and a larger number of ships, it would be possible to frus- 
trate any fresh attempt to revictual the fort. 

The difficulties before Buckingham, in short, were, in 
October as they had been in August, rather political than 
Rohan's military. Rohan, indeed, kept his word, and before 
insurrection. t h e en( j Q f October was at the head of 5,500 men. 3 
In his own country, and in the midst of a Protestant popula- 
tion, he could not but meet with sdnie support, but there was 
no general enthusiasm in his cause. Buckingham's theory 
that Richelieu was bent upon the suppression of Protestantism 
as a religion, in order to please the Pope, was entirely at variance 
with fact. The assurances of the French Government that only 
the political independence of the Protestant towns was at stake, 
found ready credence. 

1 Statement &c., Oct. 19, 5". P. Dom. Ixxxii. 35. 

2 I say this on the authority of Richelieu himself. "II faut faire cet 
effet devant que le secours d'Angleterre arrive, d'autant qu'estant renforces 
de trois ou quatre mil hommes, il pourroit arriver que nous ne serions pas 

en estat de deffaire nos ennemis " Memoire, Sept. , Lettres, ii. 603. 

The whole memoir should he read by those who think that Buckingham's 
failure was a foregone conclusion. 

3 Mtm. de Rohan, 235. 


Disappointed of the support which he had looked for from 
the French ProtestanU 1 , Buckingham was equally disappointed 
in his hopes of a French aristocratic rebellion. Montague had 
Oct. 13. been sent back to Turin, and on October 13 he re- 
ST* P rted that th e Duke of Chevreuse had made up his 
Turin. quarrel with Richelieu, that the Duke of Savoy and 
the Count of Soissons talked much of an attack upon France, 
but that they would do nothing till St. Martin's was taken. 
" Your Majesty's present undertakings," was Montague's con- 
clusion, " grow upon their own roots, and can be nourished by 
nothing but their own natural heat and vigour." J 

His Majesty's undertakings had, indeed, need of all the heat 
and vigour obtainable. Before the middle of September it was 
Failure of known that the negotiation carried on by Gerbier and 
tio e n n wfth ia " Rubens had broken down utterly. 2 It would be well 
Spain. jf Qlivares did not send an actual reinforcement to 
the French army before Rochelle. While all Charles's atten- 
tion was thus directed to the Isle of Rhe, the fortunes of the 
King of Denmark were crumbling away in North 
of the King Germany. England had helped him just enough to 

of Denmark. , , i 

spur him on to the enterprise, not enough to save 
him from ruin. Even if Morgan's troops had been duly paid, 
;hey formed but a slight instalment of the aid which Charles 
had promised at the beginning of the war. In point of fact 
pay came to the poor men with the greatest irregularity. On 
. ! July 23 Morgan reported, from his post near Bremen, 
Morgan's that his men would probably refuse to fight if the 
enemy attacked them. 3 Just as Buckingham was 
sailing, his confidant, Edward Clarke, was sent to the King of 
Denmark to assure him that order was taken for the money, 
and to console him for the past by informing him that the 
expedition to Rhe' had been sent out ' to weaken and divert 
our joint enemies, that our burden might be easier to our dear 
uncle.' The uncle must have been possessed of no incou- 

1 Montague to the King, Oct. 13, S. P. Savoy. 

* Sainsbury, Rubens, 85-105. 

1 Morgan to Conway, July 23, S. P. 


siderable control over his temper if he did not burst out into 
angry reproaches when he received the message. 1 

Clarke reached the seat of war with a month's pay just in 
time to prevent Morgan's regiment from breaking up ; but he 
might as well have left the 1,400 recruits he brought at home. 
No sooner had they set foot on shore than they deserted in 
troops of a hundred or two at a time, to hire themselves out 
to other masters who knew the value of a soldier. The one 
service which was plainly intolerable to an Englishman, was 
the service of the King of England. Some of them were re- 
captured and brought back to their colours, but it was easy to 
foretell that they would be at best of little use in the field. 2 

At last the crisis was come. A peace with Bethlen Gabor 
had released Wallenstein from Hungary. Crushing the Danish 
Se tember g arrisons m Silesia as he passed, he met Tilly at 
The King of Lauenburg towards the end of August. The plan of 
^emuar ^ e j om j campaign was soon arranged. Christian, with 
powered. j^ fj nances in disorder and his forces diminished, 
dared not offer resistance. Only 8,000 men gathered round 
his standards. Throwing them into garrisons as best he might, 
he took ship at Gliickstadt and fled hurriedly to his islands. 
On August 28 Wallenstein was marching past Hamburg at the 
head of 25,000 men. A few days later one of his lieutenants 
smote heavily upon the Margrave o'f Baden at Heiligenhafen. 
Excepting three or four fortified towns there was nothing to 
resist the Imperialists but the ocean. 3 

The remnants of Morgan's men were called across the Elbe. 

The money brought by Clarke had proved useless. There was 

some confusion in the accounts, and the merchant 

Morgans who was to pay the bills of exchange refused to do 

so. Morgan borrowed 3,000 dollars on his own 

credit ; but this would not last long. " What service," he wrote 

in despair, " can the King expect or draw from these unwilling 

men ? Thus I have been vexed all this summer, and could do 

nothing but what pleased them. Their officers had little com- 

1 Instructions to Clarke, July 27, S. P. Denmark. 

* Clarke to Conway, Aug. 20, ibid. 

* Anstruther to Conway, Sept. I ; Clarke to Conway, Sept. 7, ibid. 


mand over them, and by these reasons the King had no -jreat 
services from us. ... I could have wished our men had 
died at the point of the sword, rather than live to see those 
miseries we are in, and like to be still worse." l 

It was not owing to Charles's wisdom that he had war with 
only half Europe on his hands. The art of giving up his 
Blockade of rights from motives of policy was entirely unknown 
Hamburg. to fa m A jj through the summer, when it was of the 
utmost importance to conciliate the Germans of the North, an 
English fleet, under Sir Sackville Trevor, had been lying off the 
Elbe and stopping the whole commerce of Hamburg by pro- 
hibiting trade with France or Spain. At last Trevor was recalled, 
to take measures against a State more powerful than Hamburg. 
When Carleton was sent to the Hague, he was ordered to watch 
the progress of some ships which were building in Holland 
for the French, and to remonstrate with the Dutch on the use 
which was being made of their harbours. Carleton's remon- 
strances proving fruitless, Trevor was ordered to sail into the 
Texel and bring out every French vessel that he could find. 
On the night of September 27, whilst the French boats were 
dashing in to relieve St. Martin's, Trevor sailed along the front 
of the Dutch vessels at anchor. Ranging up unexpectedly 
alongside of a French ship he poured a broadside 
ship seized into her. She was but half-manned, and her captain 
hastily struck his colours. The next morning, before 
the Dutch authorities had time to remonstrate, Trevor set sail 
with his prize to the English coast, leaving Captain Alleyne 
behind him, with orders to look out for other French ships 
which were known to be fitting out in Holland. 2 

If the Dutch had been as easy to provoke as Charles or 
Louis, so flagrant a violation of a neutral harbour might easily 
have brought on an open rupture. The Dutch, however, 
wished merely to draw as much assistance as possible from 
each of the rival nations. To please the French they sent a 

1 Morgan to Carleton, Sept. 7, S. P. Denmark. 

2 Carleton to Coke, Sept. 29, S. P. Holland. Alhyne 1 ! Journal, 
Oct. 2 ; Duppa to Nicholas, Oct. 3, 6". P. Dom. Ixxx. 13, 26 AfJm. dt 
Kichdicu, iii. 386. 


commission to the Texel to seize upon Alleyne's ships ; but at 
the same time the Prince of Orange sent a secret message to 
Carleton, urging him to direct Alleyne to be gone before the 
Commissioners arrived, and suggesting that, 'for fashion's sake,' 
Alleyne and the Dutch officials should fire in the air over one 
another's heads as he sailed out of the harbour. 1 The imper- 
turbable refusal of the Dutch to take offence is the more 
noteworthy, as Charles, weary with their delay in giving him 
satisfaction for the Amboyna massacre, had just seized upon 
three Dutch East Indiamen, and had lodged them safely tmder 
the guns of Portsmouth. 

All these tidings of failure before the enemy and provocation 
to allies came dropping in upon the ears of Englishmen during 
October, the month of October, whilst the Government was 
fedingin straining every nerve to get ready the reinforcements 
England. f or Buckingham. What wonder if the feeling against 
Buckingham grew more bitter every day ? So strong was it 
that it left its impression even on the letters of those who were 
nearest and dearest to the absent man. His wife, whose clinging 
tenderness was not to be turned aside by his many infidelities, 
had been saddened by the absence of him who was to her the 
head and front of all mankind. He had promised to see her 
i-ettersofthe before he went, and he had broken his promise. " For 
ofBucSne- mv P art >" s ^ e wrote when she first knew that he had 
Um. slipped away from her, " I have been a very miserable 

woman hitherto, that never could have you keep at home. But 
now I will ever look to be so, until some blessed occasion comes 
to draw you quite from the Court For there is none more 
miserable than I am now ; and till you leave this life of a 
courtier, which you have been ever since I knew you, I shall 
ever think myself unhappy." 2 After the bad news of the in- 
troduction of supplies, a sense of her husband's personal danger 
mingled with the thought of her own loneliness. Some hint he 
seems to have given of an intention of throwing himself into 

1 Carleton to Coke, Oct. 5, S. P. Holland. 

* The Duchess of Buckingham to Buckingham, June 26 (?), S. P. Dom. 
Ixviii. 3. This and the other letters have been quoted in part in the Pre- 
face to Mr. Bruce 's Calendar, 1627-8. 


Rochelle. Against this, in writing to Dr. Moore, a physician 
in the camp, she protests with her whole soul. " I should 
think myself," she says, " the most miserablest woman in the 
world if my lord should go into the main land ; for though God 
has blessed him hitherto beyond all imagination in this action, 
yet I hope he will not still run on in that hope to venture 
himself beyond all discretion ; and I hope this journey hath 
not made him a Puritan, to believe in predestination. I pray 
keep him from being too venturous, for it does not belong to a 
general to walk trenches ; therefore have a care of him. I will 
assure you by this action he is not any whit the more popular 
man than when he went ; therefore you may see whether these 
people be worthy for him to venture his life for." 1 

Buckingham's mother, as a good Catholic, wrote in another 

tone, scolding her son for his blindness and presumption. 

" Dear mother," he had written from Rlie", " I am 

ham'scorre- so full of business as hardly have I time to say my 

spondents. , , _.. , , T 

prayers, but hardly passes an hour that I perceive 
not His protecting hand over me, which makes me have re- 
course to your prayers to assist me in so great a duty. For my 
coming home, till I have means from England wherewithal to 
settle this army here, I cannot with any honour leave them. If 
it be possible for you to lend me some money, do it" 2 The 
Countess had plenty of good advice to give, but no money. " I 
am very sorry," she wrote, " you have entered into so great a 
business, and so little care to supply your wants, as you see by 
the haste that is made to you. I hope your eyes will be opened 
to see what a great gulf of businesses you have put yourself 
into, and so little regarded at home, where all is merry and 
well pleased, though the ships be not victualled as yet, nor 
mariners to go with them. As for moneys, the kingdom will 
not supply your expenses, and every man groans under the 
burden of the times. At your departure from rne, you told me 

1 The Duchess of Buckingham to Moore, Oct. 20 (?), S. P, Dom. 
Ixxxii. 42. 

2 Buckingham to the Countess of Buckingham. Printed from the EarJ 
of Denbigh's collection in the Fourth Report cf the Hist MSS. CommissicH, 


.you went to make peace, but it was not from your heart. This 
is not the way ; for you to embroil the whole Christian world 
in war, and then to declare it for religion, and make God a 
party to these woful affairs, so far from God as light from 
darkness, and the highway to make all Christian princes to 
bend their forces against us, that otherwise, in policy, would 
have taken our parts." 1 

Most of Buckingham's correspondents, however, wrote in 
a different strain. The Earl of Exeter told him that his suc- 
cess at Rlie" was ' miraculous.' Dorset assured him that he had 
only to let him know his will, for if he failed to obey it he 
deserved to be 'whipped with double stripes.' 2 Yet even 
amongst those who were entirely dependent on his favour 
there were some whose anxieties would not allow them to 
, conceal from him the misery at home. On Septem- 

beptember. l 

pye's ber 21, amidst the difficulties of getting Holland's 

reinforcement ready, Sir Robert Pye, whose position 
as Auditor of the Exchequer gave him every opportunity of 
knowing the truth, uttered a note of warning. " Pardon me, I 
beseech you, if I humbly desire that you would advisedly con- 
sider of the end, and how far his Majesty's revenue of all kinds 
is now exhausted. We are upon the third year's anticipation 
beforehand ; land, much sold of the principal ; credit lost ; 
and at the utmost shift with the commonwealth. I would I 
did not know so much as I do, for I do protest I would not 
for 5oo/. but I had been in the country. Deputy lieutenants 
are not active, and justices of the peace of better sort are willing 
to be put oat of commission, every man doubting and pro- 
viding for the worst, so that all our fears increase at home. I 
know I please not, but I cannot see one I am so much .bound 
unto and not inform him my reason. I know no way to 
advise, but by some speedy accommodation of these loans, 
for nothing pleaseth so long as this is on foot, and of late no 
money, or little, hath been paid thereupon. For my own 

1 The Countess of Buckingham to Buckingham, Aug. 26 (?), S. P. 
Dam, Ixxv. 22. 

z Exeter to Buckingham, Nov. 3 ; Dorset to Buckingham, Aug. 21, 
5. /*. Dom. Ixxxiv. 16. Preface to Brace's Cakna'cu; p. i. 


particular, I will lay myself to pawn for your Lordship, but so 
soon as the fort "is taken I could wish your Lordship were 

" So soon as the fort is taken " was easily said ; but the 

taking of the fort depended on Holland's speedy setting 

out, and the difficulties in the way of Holland's 

Delays in ... . , . . 

Holland's expedition were almost insuperable. Weston might 
be, as Sir Humphrey May asserted, ' not a spark, 
but a flame of fire, in anything that concerned' the Duke, 
but the words with which this assertion was prefaced were 
none the less true. " It is easy for us to set down on paper 
ships, and money, and arms, and victual, and men, but to con- 
gest these materials together, especially in such a penury of 
money, requires more time than the necessity of your affairs 
will permit." 2 

The whole frame of government was unhinged. Lord 
Wilmot, a veteran who had seen hard service in Ireland, was to 
command the reinforcements which were to be shipped on board 
Holland's fleet. On October 6 he was waiting at Plymouth 
for supplies from London. 3 The warrant for the money needed 
for feeding the troops was only issued three days 
later. 4 On the same day Sir James Bagg, Bucking- 
ham's creature who had succeeded Eliot in the Vice-Admiralty 
of Devon, wrote that no money had been sent him to purchase 
provisions, or to hire ships for his patron's relief. 
Of the new levies which were ordered to rendezvous 
at Plymouth, large numbers had, as was now usual, escaped 
the hateful service by desertion. 8 On the nth, 
Wilmot again wrote that the supplies from London 
had not arrived, that he had no arms with which to train the 
men, and that the population of the county was exasperated 

1 Pye to Buckingham, Sept. 21, S. P. Dom. Ixxix. 2. 

2 May to Buckingham, Oct. 7, ibid. Ixxx. 60. 
8 Wilmot to Conway, Oct. 6, ibid. Ixxx. 55. 

4 Docquet, Oct. 9, S. P. Dorquct Book. 

4 Commissioners at Plymouth to the Council, Oct, IO, S. P. Dom. 
Ixxxi. 4. 


at being forced to maintain the soldiers upon credit. 1 His 

answer was an order from Conway to put his men as 

*' "* soon as possible on board ships lying at Plymouth. 

Holland would sail from Portsmouth, and the whole expedition 

would meet before St. Martin's. 2 

Charles was growing anxious. " Since I have understood 

your necessities," he wrote to Buckingham, "for fault of 

timely supplies, I still stand in fear that these may 

The King's come too late. 3 But I hope God is more merciful 

to me than to inflict so great a punishment on 

me." Even yet Wilmot could not start. On the i5th the 

ships from London had only reached the Downs. 4 

On the same day Holland reported from Portsmouth 

that nothing was ready, but that, though the captains assured 

him that it would take ten or fifteen days to remedy the defects 

of their ships, he hoped to sail in two. 5 

On the 1 8th the long-expected supplies from the Thames 
reached Plymouth. Holland, leaving Portsmouth on the igth, 
o. 21. was driven back to Cowes by a storm. 6 Leaving 
unabtew ^ s windbound ships behind him, he posted to Ply- 
leave, mouth to meet Wilmot, who was then ready to sail. 7 
Almost at the moment of his arrival the wind, which had been 
favourable at Plymouth, chopped round and blew steadily from 
the south-west. 8 

Everything on board the provision ships was in confusion. 
No bills of lading were on board, no official to take any account 
of the stores. But it mattered little now. The pitiless wind 
made the voyage impossible. The Portsmouth squadron, at- 
tempting once more to get out, was driven back into the Solent. 9 

1 Wilmot to Conway, Oct. II, S. P. Doin. Ixxxi. 13. 
z Conway to Wilmot, Oct. 12, ibid. Ixxxi. 25. 

* The King to Buckingham, Oct. 13, Hardwicke S P. ii. 19. 
4 Conway to Wilmot, Oct. 15, S. P. Dom. Ixxxi. 50. 

4 Holland to Conway, Oct. 15, ibid. Ixxxi. 5. 

Holland to Conway, Oct. 19, ibid. Ixxxii. 30, 31 
7 Wilmot to Conway, Oct. 21, ibid. Ixxxii. 46. 

Holland to Conway, Oct. 22, ibid. Ixxxii. 58. 

* Wiimot to Conw.iy, Oct. 23 ; Mervyn to Nicholas, Oct. 23, 
Ltxxii. 66, 68. 


The soldiers on board at Plymouth were eating the provisions 

designed for the army at Rhe. 1 On the 28th news 

from Buckingham reached London. The Duke had 

made up his mind to assault the fort. If Holland came in time 

with the supplies, he would stay on the island. If not, he 

would throw himself into Rochelle, and run all hazards with its 


On the 29th the wind lulled, and Holland's fleet left the 

Catwater. In the night the storm raged once more, and the 

ships were in great danger from the waves, lashed 

into fury in the then open waters of the Sound. The 

winds blew loudly for twenty hours. Even if the wind changed, 

wrote Wilmot, it would be long before the damaged ships could 

be repaired. The soldiers, besides, were ill armed, and there 

was no store at Plymouth from which to supply them. 2 

If evidence were still needed of the thorough disorgani- 
sation of the Government, it would be found in the circum- 
Nov.2. stance that five or six hundred recruits arrived at 
rion > SFthe a " Plymouth without any directions accompanying 
Government, them. Nobody had orders to receive them, and Hol- 
land was obliged to support them out of his own pocket till he 
could persuade the unwilling deputy- lieutenants to force their 
maintenance upon the county. 3 

No wonder that one more of the Duke's confidants should 
DC found bewailing to his patron the state of affairs at home. 
" In my last," wrote the courtly Goring, " I was bold 
Gorings ' to represent unto your Lordship the hazard you 
would run if you expected more timely supplies ; for 
the City, from whence all present money must now be raised, 
or nowhere, is so infested by the malignant part of this king- 
dom, as no man that is moneyed will lend upon any security, 
if they think it to go the way of the Court, which now is made 
diverse from the State. Such is the present distemper. . . . 

1 Ashburnham to Nicholas, Oct. 25, .S 1 . P. Dom. Ixxii. 87. 

2 Conway to Holland, Oct. 28 ; Holland to Conway, Oct. 30; Wilmot 
to Conway, Oct. 31, ibid. Ixxxiii. 17, 32, 38. 

s Holland to Conway, Nov. 2, ibid. Ixxxiv. 12. 


In a word, therefore, my dearest Lord, let me tell you what 
many honest-hearted men, divested of passion or bye-ends, say 
that if it be true, as is here conceived, that the fort be again 
revictualled in such plenty as will force you to a winter siege at 
the best, before you can hope for any good success, that then 
your Lordship would rather betake you to a new counsel, and 
think what way to curb the French insolency some other way 
than by a wilful struggling against them where the season and 
place give them such infinite advantage of you. Besides, 
my dear Lord, here at home where your judgment is first to 
reflect are such desperate obstructions as nothing but your 
presence can remove, and that will do it, if you will yet be 
pleased in time to look about you, or let me perish for a false, 
vile wretch to you." ' 

Whatever others might think of him, Buckingham was still 

certain of the King's support. The letter written by Charles 

in the midst of all this uncertainty is very pathetic in 

The Kin^s its mingled spirit of resignation and confidence. " I 

1 never come to your hands, this being only to meet you at your 
landing in England, in case you should come from Rhe without 
perfecting your work, happily begun, but, I must confess with 
grief, ill seconded. This is therefore to give you power in 
case ye shall imagine that ye have not enough already to put 
in execution any of those designs ye mentioned to Jack Hip- 
pesley, or any other that you shall like of. So that I leave it 
freely to your will, whether, after your landing in England, ye will 
set forth again to some design before you come hither ; or else 
that ye shall first come to ask my advice before ye undertake a 
new work ; assuring you that, with whatsomever success ye 
shall come to me, ye shall ever be welcome, one of my greatest 
griefs being that I have not been with you in this time of suffer- 
ing, for I know we would have much eased each other's griefs. 
I cannot stay longer on this subject, for fear of losing myself in 
it. To conclude, you cannot come so soon as ye are welcome ; 
and unfeignedly in my mind ye have gained as much reputation 

1 Goring to Buckingham, Nov. 5, S. P. Dom. Ixxxiv. 20. 


with wise and honest men, in this action, as if ye had performed 
all your desires." ' 

Charles's forebodings of evil, though he knew it not, were 

already realised. By the middle of October the condition of 

Oct. 16. the besiegers was pitiable. The weather was cold 

affairsat 0f anC ^ WCt > atl( ^ t* 16 mn W6re CXpOSCd tO grieVOUS 

Rh - misery in the trenches. The officers were ' looking 

themselves blind ' by sweeping the horizon with their telescopes 
for the first signs of Holland's fleet, 2 as in old days the soldiers 
of Nicias gazed across the Sicilian sea for the triremes of 
Demosthenes. But for the south-west wind in the Channel, 
Holland would have been with them in less than a week, and 
their necessities would have been relieved ; but Holland came 
not, and Buckingham was called on once more to face the 
question of relinquishing his enterprise. 

Everything hung on the chances of Holland's arrival. If 
he came quickly, all might yet be well. If he delayed, the 
army might easily be exposed to an irreparable disaster. Was 
it strange that the officers of Buckingham's council concurred 
in taking a gloomy view of the situation, while Buckingham 
himself, upon whom failure would weigh infinitely more heavily 
than upon all the rest together, hoped against hope, broke out 
into passionate reproaches against those who seemed to have 
forgotten him at home, and, whilst prudently making prepara- 
tions for departure in case of necessity, still clung firmly to the 
spot on which he was? 

The time was fast passing by when hesitation would be any 
longer possible. The smaller fort of La Free had been left 
unassailed in July, and it now afforded a shelter to the French 
Oct. 20. troops passing over from the mainland. By October 20 
kndfrTthe* 1 nearly 2,000 soldiers had been received within its 
island. walls and within the entrenchments which had been 
thrown up in front of it, 3 and their number might be expected 
to increase every day. 

1 The King to Buckingham, Nov. 6, Hardivicke S. P. ii. 20. 
- Bold to Nicholas, Oct. 16; Louis to Nicholas, Oct. 16, S. P. Doin. 
Ixxxi. 59, 61. 

3 htiard, 177-193. It is not for me, remembering the controversy 


It was lamentable for Buckingham to be so near success 
and yet to miss it. Toiras had only provisions to last him till 
November 5,' and though the exact date was not known in the 
English camp, the conjectures formed by the besiegers were 
not far wrong. Between the greatness of the prize and the ter- 
rible consequences of exposure to a French attack upon his 
diminished army, Buckingham was unable to form a resolution. 
During the week which followed upon the last landing of the 
French there were continued combats, in which the English 
held their own. Yet it was certain that when fresh troops arrived 
at La Free, Buckingham's position would be untenable, and at 
last he reluctantly gave way to those who urged him to retreat. 
Yet in the desperate condition in which he was, he was ready 
to catch at any straw, and having heard that Toiras had but 
500 men left capable of bearing arms, 2 he talked openly of or- 
dering an assault upon the fortress, though an assault 
Attempted had long ago been regarded as a hopeless opera- 
tion. 3 On the morning of the 27th the attempt was 
made. Toiras, probably through Buckingham's want of reticence, 

about attacking the north side of Sebastopol after the battle of the Alma, 
to say whether Buckingham was right or wrong in neglecting La Free. 
Of coune he was blamed after the event for what he did, and Herbert, 
who represents the talk of the camp, says (p. 50) that ' some of our ancient 
and well-experienced soldiers thought fit to begin with it,' whilst ' the 
pretenders to the Duke's favour advised him to begin with St. Martin's. ' 
I do not see, however, that anybody supposed that the Duke was strong 
enough to attack both at once ; and the only question therefore is, whether 
he would have been able at the same time to master La Free and to hinder 
Toiras from provisioning St. Martin's, so as to make a blockade of that fort 
practically impossible after La Free was captured. As matters stood in July, 
there was no danger of the landing of the French troops at La Free, because 
there were none to spare on the mainland. Such a danger did not arise till 
October. It therefore seems to me to be a perfectly sustainable argument, 
for those who care to embark on such speculations, that Buckingham took 
the wisest course. All that I am concerned with, however, is to show that 
he was not the mere infatuated being that history chooses to represent him. 

1 Isnard, 184, 

3 News- Letter, Nov. 5, S. P. Dom. Ixxxiv. 24. 

* See the account of Courtney's conversation with Eliot, in Forster^ 
i. 403- 


was amply forewarned, and the troops from La Prde came 
out to threaten the assailants in the rear. Even if secrecy had 
been maintained, the operation would probably have failed. 
The works of the citadel were intact, and the scaling ladders 
were too short. After a useless butchery, Buckingham was 
compelled to draw off his men. 

Military prudence counselled instant retreat ; but Buck- 
ingham had not learned to steel his heart against suffering. 
The Rochellese urged him to protect them a little longer, whilst 
they gathered in provisions from the island to replace those 
which they had made over to the English army in the beginning 
of the month. 1 Neither could he bear to leave his own wounded 
to the mercies of the enemy. The whole of the next 
day was spent in shipping the injured men. 2 On the 
Oct. 29. morning of the 2pth it was too late. Marshal Schom- 
The retreat berg, who had already landed with fresh troops at La 
Martin's. Pr^e, advanced to the attack at the head of little less 
than 6,000 men. 

Preparations for retreat had been duly made. A wooden 
bridge had been constructed across the marshes and the narrow 
arm of the sea which separated the Isle of Rhe from the 
smaller Isle of Loix, 3 and this bridge was to have been guarded 
by a fortified work, which would have enabled the troops to 
embark in safety. Unhappily, by some blunder, the causeway 
which led to the bridge from the side of the Isle of Rh was left 
entirely undefended, whilst only the farther end of the bridge 
on the lesser island, to which the troops were marching, was 
guarded by an entrenchment. The French accordingly had but 
to watch their opportunity. As soon as three regiments were over 
they charged the handful of horse which had been left to guard 
the passage. 4 Yielding to the weight of numbers the English 

1 hnard, 210. 

z Crosby to Conway (?), Nov. 14 (?), S. P. Dom. Ixxxiv. 78. 

3 Now joined to the larger island. 

4 Crosby notes on this leaving sixty horse to meet 200, "An error never 
to be sufficiently condemned in the Colonel-General and the Sergeant- 
Major-General, to whom the Duke committed the retreat." If this is true, 
and not a mere camp rumour, Buckingham was not responsible for the 
details of the manoeuvres ol that day. 


horse gave way, and dashing in headlong flight towards the 
bridge, threw the infantry into hopeless confusion. Almost at the 
same time a body of French, who had pushed round the three 
English regiments which had not 'crossed the bridge, fired upon 
them in the rear. From that moment a sheer mas- 

The slaugh- 

ter on the sacre ensued. Two colonels were slam upon the spot. 

Not a horseman succeeded in crossing the bridge. 
" By this time," wrote the officer who had the command bt 
the work beyond the bridge, " the Rochellese, having found 
another way on the left hand through the salt-pits, made ex- 
traordinary haste to the bridge, and wedged themselves into 
the flank of Sir Alexander Brett's regiment then passing over, 
by means whereof, the passage being choked up, the enemy 
had the killing, taking, and drowning of our men at the bridge 
at his pleasure, without any hazard, musqueteers being not 
able to annoy them without endangering our own men." The 
bridge, too, had no protection at the sides, and large numbers 
fell over and were drowned. At first the soldiers who guarded 
the entrenchment beyond the bridge were borne away by the 
flying rout But, after a time, a knot of men was rallied by 
the officers, and the French were driven back. At nightfall the 

English were still in possession of the entrenchment 

Early in the morning the bridge was set on fire, and 
the remains of Buckingham's army were enabled to re-embark 
at their leisure. 1 

Various accounts have been given of the numbers lost in 
this disastrous retreat. The French claimed to have destroyed 
Estimate of 2 >ooo men. The English authorities would hardly 

admit that more than 1,000 perished. 2 If, however, 
the ravages caused by warfare and disease during the preceding 
weeks be taken into account, the entire English loss must be set 
down at little less than 4,000 men. On October 20, 6,884 soldiers 
drew pay at St. Martin's. On November 8 the embarkation 
was effected without further difficulty, and after a short voyage 

1 Crosby to (Conway ?), Nov. 14 (?), S. P. Dom. Ixxxiv. 78. Com- 
pare Herbert, 224. The bird's-eye view given by Isnard brings the whole 
scene before us. 

* Herbert, 257. 


2,989 poor wretches, worn with hunger and enfeebled by disease, 
were landed at Portsmouth and Plymouth. 1 

One of the colonels has left on record his opinion of the 
proximate causes of the disaster. " It is not to be doubted," 
Causesofthe he says, " that the Duke had both courage, munifi- 
disaster. cence, and industry enough, together with many other 
excellent parts, which in time would make him a renowned 
general. But his prime officers undervaluing his directions 
because of his inexperience, and taking a boldness in regard of 
his lenity to delinquents, did not only fail to co-operate with 
him, but by giving out that he cared not to expose them all for 
his own vainglory, had infused into a great part of the army 
a mutinous disposition, insomuch as whatsoever was directed 
touching our longer abode or any attempt ro be made upon 
the enemy was either cried down, or so slowly and negligently 
executed as it took none effect For instance, when it was re- 
solved in council that the little fort should be besieged, they 
obstinately declined it. 2 On the other side, whatsoever tended 
to the retreat was acted with all possible expedition ; as for 
example, the shipping of all the brass cannon, whereunto they 
had by surprise gotten his consent before the assault, by him- 
self often repented of. In this distraction of affairs, the Duke 
was forced to resort to new and private counsels, by which he 
was then so guided that Dulbier, one author thereof, writing to 
his friend in Holland, used these words :- l L? ignorance et la 
dissention qu'est entre les Anglois, nfa faict vendre les coquittes 3 a 
von marche.'"* 

An inexperienced general, discontented commanders, and 
a half-mutinous soldiery were enough to ruin any undertaking, 
and it can hardly be denied that Buckingham's hesitation 
during the last few days went far to convert a necessary retreat 

1 Accounts of the number of soldiers, Oct. 20 ; Statement of the num- 
bers, Nov., S. P. Dom. Ixxxii. 43, Ixxxv. 94. 

* This cannot refer to the original question of besieging La Pre'e, but 
to some later resolution, probably when the French were beginning to land. 

' ' Bien vendre les coquilltt ' is ' tirer un profit exagcre' (fune operation 
ou (fun setvice.' Littrl, s.v. coquille. Dulbier, on the contrary, sold his 
shells chenp, i.e. got little for his pains. 

4 Crosby to Conway (?), Nov, 14 (?) & P- D m- Ixxxiv. 78. 


into a terrible disaster. Yet neither must it be forgotten that, ex- 
cept when he ordered the assault, his fault lay simply in his mis- 
calculation of chances over which he had no control. But for 
the persistence of the south-west wind in the Channel, Holland 
would have been at Rhe about October 24 or 25, and the firm- 
ness of Buckingham in resisting the timid counsels of his subor- 
dinates would have been one of the commonplaces of history. 

As a man Buckingham gains much from an impartial exa- 
mination of his conduct in this expedition. At least he was no 
Buckingham carpet knight, no mere courtier dancing attendance 
at Rhe. upon the powerful at banquets and festivities. No 
veteran could have surpassed him in the readiness with which 
he exposed his person to danger, and in his determination to 
see all with his own eyes, to encourage the down-hearted, and 
to care for the suffeiing of his men. After all, the charge which 
history has to bring against Buckingham is not so much that he 
failed in the expedition to Rlie", as that there was an expedition 
to Rlie" at all. The politician, not the man, was at fault. Even 
if the French war had been justifiable in itself, the idea of 
undertaking it with no support but that of an alienated nation 
was hazardous in the extreme. The south-west wind which 
kept Holland in port was but a secondary cause of the disaster. 
But for the thorough disorganisation of the English Govern- 
ment, which was the clear result of the quarrel with the House 
of Commons, Holland would have been able to start at least 
a fortnight earlier, whilst the wind was still favourable to his 
voyage. The position at Rhe after the succour had been thrown 
into the fort was something like that of the allied armies before 
Sebastopol after the failure of the first bombardment ; but the 
allied armies had powerful Governments behind them, and the 
British army at least had the support of a nation feverishly 
anxious for the honour of its arms, and ready to pour forth its 
treasures without stint to support the enterprise which it had 
undertaken. Buckingham had nothing behind him but an 
attached but incapable sovereign, and a handful of officials 
rendered inert by the dependence in which he had kept them, 
and by their knowledge of the ill-will with which every act of 
theirs was scanned by the vast majority of the nation. 




ON November 1 1 Buckingham landed at Plymouth. Although 

he was met by information that a plot had been formed to 

N murder him on his way to London, he refused to take 

Bucking- any precautions. To his young nephew, Denbigh's 

son, Lord Fielding, who offered to change clothes 

with him in order to shield him from danger, he replied that 

if his enemies believed him to be afraid of danger, he should 

never be safe. 1 

The meeting between Buckingham and the King was ex- 
tremely cordial. Charles threw the whole blame of failure upon 
the delay in sending supplies. Though Buckingham was well 
aware of the temper of his officers towards him, he had nothing 
but commendation to bestow upon them. 2 If he sometimes 
used hard language, it was directed against the officials at home, 
and he was even heard to charge the faithful Sir John Coke 
with stabbing him in the back in his absence. 3 His anger, 
however, soon cooled down, and the lesson of his failure was 
quickly forgotten in the excitement of preparation for fresh 
enterprises. Already he was talking of an attack upon Calais. 4 
Whatever the plan finally resolved on might be, he was con- 
templating nothing but the active resumption of hostilities. 

1 Rel. Wottqnianfe, i. 229. 

2 Conway to Sir E. Conway, Nov. 20, S. P. Dom. Ixxxv. II. 

* Contarini to the Doge, ^' ", Yen. Transcripts. 
4 The King to Buckingham, Nov. 14 ; misdated in Hardwicke S. P. 
li. 21. 


Very different was the conclusion drawn outside the charmed 
circle of the Court. All through the summer news had been 
Feding in eagerly looked for, and rumours, true or false, had 
England. spread from mouth to mouth. In spite of the general 
unpopularity of the Government, sympathy with the Protestants 
of Rochelle was not dead, and the hopes of success which had 
been raised from time to time caused the final blow, ' the great- 
est and shamefullest overthrow,' as one letter-writer described 
it, ' since the loss of Normandy,' to fall all the more heavily. 
At first it was rumoured that not a single man or gun had been 
brought away. l 

Although the exaggeration of the tale was soon discovered, 
every tongue was loosed in criticism, and the object of every 
criticism was the Duke. The sins of every officer and soldier 
fell, as was perhaps inevitable, upon the head of the contriver 
of the ill-starred expedition. " The disorder and confusion," 
wrote Denzil Holies to his brother-in-law Wentworth, " was so 
great, the truth is no man can tell what was done. This only 
every man knows, that since England was England it received 
not so dishonourable a blow. Four colonels lost, thirty-two 
colours in the enemy's possession, but more lost, God knows 
how many men slain, they say not above two thousand on our 
side, and I think not one of the enemy's." 2 

After this disaster, the resistance to the loan could no longer 

be treated from a purely legal point of view. The reply given 

. in the summer by George Catesby when his contri- 

Effectofthis . . 

feeling in bution was demanded, " I will be master of my own 
resistance purse," 3 would have had a somewhat sordid appear- 
ance if Charles had in reality required his money 
on behalf of an undoubted necessity of State. It was now im- 
possible for the King to place himself before the world as the 
defender of his country's honour in the face of a factious Op- 
position. A disaster worse than that of Cecil in 1625, a failure 
worse than that of Willoughby in 1626, had crowned the efforts 
of an ill-advised and reckless administration. Whoever favoured 

' Letters to Meade, Nov. 16, Court and Times, i. 285. 
* Holies to Wentworth, Nov. 19, Stratford Letters, i. 41. 
1 Letter to Meade, Feb. 23, Court and 7'imes, i. 196. 


Buckingham and his designs stood forth, in the eyes of all but a 
select circle of his admirers, as the worst enemy of his country. 

As if to make Charles's difficulties yet greater, he had 
allowed the political strife between himself and his people to 
February, be still further embittered by involving it with the 
ricaUKffi- ecclesiastical problem which was already hard enough 
cuitie. t o solve. As soon as the demand for the loan had 
been made, each theological party drew instinctively to the 
side of its natural supporter. The Puritan, sharing as he did 
in the general sentiment of the House of Commons, and asking 
for nothing but the exclusive maintenance of a popular form 
of doctrine, trusted for support to the conservative feelings of the 
nation. The new school of Churchmen, thirsting for change 
after the standard of an earlier age, looked to the Royal power 
as the lever with which they hoped to effect their purposes. 

It is in the nature of things that the political theories and 
preferences of ecclesiastics should vary with the circumstances 
in which they find themselves, and it is easy to conceive a 
state of things in which Puritans would appeal to a Govern- 
ment for support, and their opponents would throw them- 
selves upon popular sympathies. Yet it is difficult to imagine 
Churchmen of the stamp of Laud and Montague placing any 
confidence in the general good- will of the people. They were 
too scholar-like and refined, too much inclined to throw doubt 
on the sweeping assertions which pass current with the multi- 
tude, and at the same time too little conversant with the world, 
to know how to bring their influence to bear upon those who 
distrusted or disliked them. As their idea of Church govern- 
ment was the idea of a system controlled by a minority of 
learned men without any consideration for the feelings and 
prejudices either of their learned antagonists or of the ignorant 
multitude, they looked with fondness upon the Royal authority 
which was alone able to give them the strength which they 
lacked. " Defend thou me with the sword and I 

Nature of 

theRoyaiism will defend thee with the pen," the sentence with 

Laudian which Montague concluded his Appello Casarem, 

expressed the common sentiment of the whole party. 

The predominance of Charles in the State meant the predomi- 


nance of their own way of thinking, and the carrying out of 
their own principles into action. They did not see how in- 
sufficient these principles were for purposes of government. 
They did not see that, even if their ideas had been all that they 
fancied them to be, they were pinning their faith to the mere 
personal prepossessions of the reigning Sovereign. If Charles 
was their supporter and protector, who could say that his suc- 
cessor might not support and protect their opponents ? 

The future might take care of itself. For the present, 
to magnify the King's authority was the one way of safety. 
The King The Laudian party of Charles's reign was the least 
of e th- tre ecclesiastical of all ecclesiastical parties. The great 
system. Popes and Churchmen of the Middle Ages would 
have branded them as recreants to the cause of spiritual 
supremacy. It mattered little to them. In the King's authority 
they saw their only refuge against the tyrannical domination of 
the multitude, the only fulcrum by the aid of which they could 
hope to move the world and to settle the English Church in 
that secure and orderly form which was the object of their 

Laud, preaching before the King when he opened his first 

Parliament, chose for his text, " When I shall receive the con- 

1625. gregation, I will judge according unto right. The 

June 19. earth is dissolved, and all the inhabitants thereof : I 

Laud s 

sermon. bear up the pillars of it." The king, he declared, 
" is God's immediate lieutenant upon earth ; and therefore one 
and the same action is God's by ordinance, and the king's by 
execution. And the power which resides in the king is not any- 
assuming to himself, nor any gift from the people, but God's 
power, as well in as over him." If the earth was not to dis- 
solve, ' the king must trust and endear his people ; the people 
must honour, obey, and support their king ; both king and 
peers and people must religiously serve and honour God.' 
The king, however, could not take the whole of the burden of 
government upon himself. "There must be inferior judges 
and magistrates deputed by the king for this : men of courage, 
fearing God and hating covetousness. All judges, even this 
great congregation, this great council, now ready to sit, receive 


influence and power from the king, and are dispensers of his 
justice as well as their own, both in the laws they make and in 
the laws they execute ; in the causes which they hear, and in 
the sentences which they give : the king God's high steward, 
and they stewards under him." l 

Even the Parliament then was but an instrument m the 
King's hands, for ' counsel not for control,' as Charles after- 
Nature of wards said. Laud's view, of the constitution was no 
oiy o h v e e r n y . new theory evolved out of the recesses of his own 
ment - mind. It was in the main the doctrine of the Tudor 

sovereigns, the doctrine under which England had won its 
national independence from Rome. The authority of the State, 
according to this view, did not lie in the multitude, necessarily 
ignorant and driven hither and thither by passion and pre- 
judice. It lay with him whom God had placed at the helm, 
and who knew better what was good for the people than they 
could possibly know for themselves. This authority was his not 
that he might gratify his own will, but that he might do judgment 
and justice. As long as he did this he would be an instrument 
in God's hands for bearing up the pillars of the world. 

Many months had not passed since the delivery of this 
sermon before everywhere men were beginning to look about 

for some other theory to live by. Whatever they 
influence might think about the King, they had no longer 
eventJon any belief that his ministers wished to do judgment 

and justice. It was not in the nature of things that 
these views should be shared by Laud and his friends. To 
them the House of Commons, which attacked Montague and 
impeached Buckingham, had ceased to do judgment and justice, 
and they clung all the more closely to the only power in Eng- 
land which they believed to be willing to do them right. 

In this temper they were found by the forced loan. Looking 
with admiration upon the King's ecclesiastical policy, they cared 

little about his foreign policy, and were willing to take 

it upon trust. The victory of Parliament would be a 
terrible blow to them, and they threw themselves eagerly upon 

1 Laud's Works, i. 93. 


Charles's side. One of them, Dr. Robert Sibthorpe, preaching 
before the Judges at the Lent Assizes at Northamp- 

Feb. 22. J . ..... 

sibthorpe's ton, set forth the royal pretensions with irritating 
plainness of speech. It was the duty of the prince, 
he said, to 'direct and make laws.' Subjects were bound to 
pay active obedience to the king, except when his commands 
were either impossible, or contrary to the laws of God or nature. 
But even then they were not to resist him. 1 

Sibthorpe's sermon was by no means remarkable for ability, 
but it might be useful as a manifesto in behalf of the loan, and 
Archbishop Abbot was ordered by the King to license it for the 
press. The sanction of the highest authority in the Church was 
thus demanded for the loan, just as the sanction of the highest 
authority iu the law had been demanded a few weeks before. 
Abbot, however, proved as impracticable as Crew. 

Abbot re- TT , ' , , 

fuses to He had no objection to make against the ceremonies 
eit ' of the Church, but his austere and ungenial mind 
was thoroughly wedded to the Calvinistic system of doctrine, 
and in consequence thoroughly opposed to Laud and his ways. 
Something, too, of personal bitterness doubtless mingled with 
nobler motives. Laud had supplanted him with Charles, as 
Williams had supplanted him with James. Since Buckingham's 
predominance had been undisputed, he had ceased to attend 
the Privy Council, where his word was held to be of little worth. 
He now fancied that the message which he had received 
was a trick of Buckingham's to bring him into still further dis- 
credit with the King, if he refused to do that which his con- 
science forbade him to do. 

Once before in his life Abbot had bearded a king, when he 
refused to marry Somerset to the divorced Countess of Essex 
July 4 . He now again refused to conform to the royal or- 
Abbotsent fars. The consequences which he predicted were 

into confine- 1 . r 

ment. not long in coming upon him. Independence could 

not be suffered in the Church any more than on the Bench. 

1 Through the kindness of Mr. Wilon, of King William Street, Charing 
Cross, I was able to obtain a sight of this sermon, Apostolical Obedience^ 
which I could not find in the Museum Library. 


On July 4 Abbot was ordered to betake himself to Ford, a 

mansion in Kent belonging to the see of Canterbury, and there 

Oct. 9. to remain in confinement. On October 9 a further 

A^ 1 **' 5 . indignity was placed upon him. The archbishopric 

jurisdiction ' 

sequestered, could not be taken away, but he could be deprived 
of his jurisdiction, on the plea that he was unable to attend 
to his duties in person. The control of the Church courts was 
placed in the hands of a commission of which Laud was the 
leading spirit. Care would now be taken to keep in check 
those who, contrary to the King's proclamation, ventured to 
write books against Arminianism. 1 

Laud rose higher in the King's favour as Abbot fell. Hopes 
had been given to him of succeeding eventually to the Arch- 
Land strong bishopric of Canterbury, and now, on June 17, just 
Kind's as Buckingham was sent to Rlie", Charles promised 
favour. him the Bishopric of London as soon as a vacancy 
occurred. 2 As Buckingham imposed upon Charles by the 
romantic side of his nature, filling his mind with the promise of 
those great achievements upon which he loved to dwell, Laud 
imposed upon him by his love of external authority and his con- 
tempt for the popular will. Two such counsellors were enough 
to ruin any prince. 

By this time a licenser had been found for Sibthorpe's 

sermon in the least reputable of the prelates then living. Mon- 

Mays. taigne, Bishop of London, has been severely dealt 

Sibthorpe-s w j tn b y both O f the Church parties. "Which," 

sermon * 

licensed by wrote Milton ironically of the condition of a primi- 


Montaigne, tive bishop, " what a plural endowment to the 
many-benefice-gaping mouth of a prelate, what a relish it would 
give to his canary-sucking and swan-eating palate, let old 

1 Commission, Oct. 9, State Trials, ii. 1451. Abbot's narrative in 
Rush-worth, i. 434. Fuller's blunder (vi. 42), that Abbot was suspended 
for his 'casual homicide,' has been exposed by Heylyn, Examett, 206. But 
it has probably done more than anything else to keep alive the belief that 
Abbot's retirement from affairs was owing to that cause. The part which 
he took in the Parliament of 1628, and which is only known by the revcla/- 
tions of Elsin^s Notes, shows that he did not shrink from public activity 
when he expected any good to come of it. 

'' Heylyn, life of Laud, 174; Laud's Diary, Works, in. 196. 


Bishop Montaigne judge for me." l Even Laud's admiring 
biographer, Heylyn, spoke of him as 'a man inactive and ad- 
dicted to voluptuousness, and one that loved his ease too 
well to disturb himself in the concernments of the Church. 2 
The year before he had made himself notorious by the vigour 
with which he threw himself into the support of Buckingham's 
candidature at Cambridge, and he had recently, in sending a 
present to the Duke, assured him that he could not live if the 
present were refused. For, he said, when God returns back a 
man's sacrifice, it is because he is offended with him. 3 

Sibthorpe's sermon had, indeed, done much to exasperate 
the popular feeling ; but there were others who were prepared 
to go to greater lengths than he. In two sermons 
Manwaring's preached before the King in July, Dr. Roger Man- 
waring asserted in the strongest possible terms the 
duty of obeying the King as the ordinance of God, on pain 
of eternal damnation. The King represented the rule of 
justice as opposed to that of mere numbers. He then applied 
the argument to the refusers of the loan. " First," he said, 
after a reference to those who appealed to Parliamentary right, 
" if they would please to consider that though such assem- 
blies as are the highest and greatest assemblies of a kingdom, 
be most sacred and honourable, and necessary also to those 
ends to which they were at first instituted ; yet know we 
must, that ordained they were not to this end, to contribute 
any right to kings, whereby to challenge tributary aids and 
subsidiary helps ; but for the more equal imposing and more 
easy exacting of that which unto kings doth appertain by 
natural and original law and justice, as their proper in- 
heritance annexed to their imperial crowns from their birth. 
And therefore if by a magistrate that is supreme, if upon 
necessity extreme and urgent, such subsidiary helps be re- 
quired, a proportion being held respectively to the ability of 
the persons charged, and the sum and quantity so required 
surmount not too remarkably the use and charge for which it 
was levied, very hard would it be for any man in the world 

1 On Reformation in England. * Heylyn, Life of Laud, 174, 

* Montaigne to Buckingham, March (?), 1627, S. P. Dom. 


that should not accordingly satisfy such demands, to defend 
his conscience from that heavy prejudice of resisting the ordi- 
nance of God, and receiving to himself damnation ; though 
every of those circumstances be not observed, which by the 
municipal law is required. 

" Secondly, if they would consider the importunities that 
often may be urgent, and pressing necessities of State that 
cannot stay without certain and apparent danger for the motion 
and revolution of so great and vast a body as such assemblies 
are, nor yet abide their long and pausing deliberation when 
they are assembled, nor stand upon the answering of those 
jealous and over- wary cautions and objections made by some 
who, wedded overmuch to the love of epidemical and popular 
errors, and bent to cross the most just and lawful designs of 
their wise and gracious sovereign, and that under plausible 
shows of singular liberty and freedom, which, if their con- 
science might speak, would appear nothing more than the 
satisfying either of private humours, passions, or purposes." 1 

Such was the argument which Charles wished to see printed 
for the instruction of his subjects. Even Laud remonstrated. 
There were things in the sermon, he said, 'which would be 
very distasteful to the people.' Charles was, however, resolute. 
Montaigne was ordered to license the book, and Montaigne 
once more did as he was bid. 2 

Posterity has wisely decided against the principles advocated 
by Manwaring. Whatever the evils were which he attacked, 
Manwaring's tne remedy which he proposed was undoubtedly 
opinions. worse than the disease. Yet it would be unfair to 
deny that the germ of much that was evil existed in the pre- 
tensions of the House of Commons. In defending the rights 
of the individual against arbitrary taxation, words were some- 
times spoken which might be used to countenance that undue 
reverence for property and vested rights which was the bane of 

1 This extract, brought before the Lords by Pym, is printed in State 
Trials, iii. 346. A copy of the two sermons, printed under the title 
* Religion and Allegiance,' is in the Library of Sion College. 

2 Stale Trials, iii. 351. Books might be licensed by the Archbishop 
of Canterbury or the Bishop of London. 



a later period, and to discountenance that higher ideal accord- 
ing to which each man is called to justify his claims upon 
society by arguments founded upon the welfare of the society 
in which he lives. Nor is it possible to deny that the growing 
ascendency of the House of Commons, desirable as it was, had 
yet its ugly side ; that it might come to represent the interests 
rather than the wisdom of the nation, and that, unless the 
national mind were aroused to reverence for justice, it might be 
as arbitrary as Charles had ever been, and as little inclined to 
deal justly with those who were from any cause regarded with 
detestation or contempt by any considerable majority of its 

It may reasonably be allowed that Parliaments no more 
approach ideal perfection than kings are likely to approach it. 
It was Manwaring's mistake that he exaggerated that which 
was worst in the House of Commons, and that he exaggerated 
still more that which was best in Charles. What he saw in the 
Royal authority was that which enthusiastic dreamers always 
imagine that they see in the government of their preference. 
Royalty was to him what the Republic has been to many a 
republican. What he sighed for was a ruler who would look 
beyond the wants of the moment, beyond the petty exigencies 
of partisan and private objects, to that ideal justice to which 
the influence of wealth would be no seduction and the clamour 
of ignorance no hindrance. The authority of kings, he asserts, 
rising almost into poetic fervour as he. utters the words, is 
derived directly from God. It has no dependence even upon 
angels. Nothing in the world, nothing in the hierarchy of the 
Church can restrain them. " No parts within their dominions, 
no persons, under their jurisdictions, be they never so great, 
can be privileged from their power, nor be exempted from their 
care be they never so mean. To this power the highest and 
greatest peer must stoop, and cast down his coronet at the 
footstool of his sovereign. The poorest creature which lieth 
by the wall or goes by the highway-side, is not without sundry 
and sensible tokens of that sweet and royal care and provi- 
dence which extendeth itself to the lowest of his subjects. The 
way they pass by is the king's highway. The laws which make 


provision for their relief take their binding force from the 
supreme will of their liege lord. The bread that feeds their 
hungry souls, the poor rags which hide their nakedness, all are 
the fruit and superfluity of that happy plenty and abundance 
caused by a wise and peaceable government." 

The time would come when a triumphant Parliament 
would be forced to hear from the lips of Cromwell that a great 
objections to country cannot be ruled by mere law and custom, 
the theory. w hii s t those who are entrusted with its guidance are 
fattening upon the abuses which they have neither the will nor 
the understanding to remove. In 1627 the immediate danger 
did not lie here. Whatever Laud or Manwaring might think, 
Charles's government was in no sense of the word a national 
government, able to appeal to the higher needs of the people, 
and to take its stand above disputing factions. How such a 
government would rise upon the basis of the Parliamentary 
institutions of the seventeenth century was the secret of the 
future. The claim of Parliament to predominance had yet to 
be rendered otherwise than intolerable by the admission of 
the air of liberty and publicity within its walls to an extent 
which the foremost men of Charles's reign found it impossible 
to conceive. Yet even as it was, with all its faults, the hope 
of England was in the House of Commons and not in Charles. 
The Commons, it is true, had failed in apprehending the full 
meaning of religious liberty ; they had made mistakes in their 
mode of dealing with this or that action of the Crown ; but 
the great principle that, when new circumstances call for new 
modes of action, the course to be pursued must be resolved 
upon in concurrence with those men whom the nation chooses 
or allows to represent it, was the principle upon which the 
greatness of England had rested in past ages, and the vindica- 
tion of which was the business upon which the Parliaments of 
Charles's day employed themselves for the benefit of posterity. 

It was fitting that the first answer if not to Manwaring's 
sermons, at least to the spirit by which those sermons were 
prompted should proceed from Eliot, the man to whom the 
House of Commons was the re presentative of as high a wisdom 
as the King was to Manwaring, and to whom the old laws of 


England were not records of the dead past, telling a mingled 
tale of wisdom and folly, but words fraught with stern resolve 
and prophetic hope, in which a mighty nation had recorded 
for all future time the conditions on which alone it would deign 
to live, and from which no subsequent generation, on pain of 
degradation, might dare to depart. 

From his prison in the Gatehouse Eliot's petition was sent 
to the King, 1 humble in outward form, unbending in its firm 
Eliot 'spe- reliance on the strength of the position it assumed. 
theG/te. m " Tne ru l fi f justice," he declared, "he takes to be 
house. the law ; the impartial arbiter of government and 

obedience ; the support and strength of majesty ; the observa- 
tion of that justice by which subjection is commanded ; whereto 
religion, adding to these a power not to be resisted, binds up 
the conscience in an obligation to that rule, which, without 
open prejudice and violation to those duties, may not be im- 

Then came a string of quotations from statutes of the first 
and third Edward directed against taxation without the consent 
of Parliament, followed by the one clause which 
affecting the bore directly upon the question of the loan. In the 
reign of Edward III., on the petition of the Com- 
mons, it had been ' established that the loans which are granted 
to the King by divers persons be released, and that none from 
henceforth be compelled to make such loans against their 
wills, because it is against reason and the franchises of the land ; 
and that restitution be made to such as made such loans.' 

Looked at narrowly, it may perhaps be doubted how far 
these words 1 will bear the interpretation placed upon them 
The case in the time of Edward III. appears to have been that 
the Royal officers first compelled certain merchants to advance 
beforehand customs which were not due for some months to 
come, and subsequently refused repayment of the money thus 

1 Printed in Forster's Eliot, i. 410. The petition seems to have been 
generally adopted by others in like circumstances (Forster, 408, note 4); 
but the language seems characteristic of Eliot, and I have no doubt that 
he had at least a main hand in drawing it up, doubtless after consultation 
with lawyers. 

1627 ELIOT ON THE LOAN. 713 

obtained. 1 An advocate of the prerogative might perhaps ask 
what this had to do with a demand made generally in a case 
of pressing necessity, when the House of Commons had, as 
he would say, taken advantage of the King's circumstances to 
impose its will upon the Crown, in defiance of the constitu- 
tion of the kingdom. It is, however, needless to pursue further 
such investigations. The strength of Eliot's case lay precisely 
in that which even he did not venture to say, that the necessity, 
so far as it was a necessity at all, had arisen from sheer mis- 
government, and that the appeal to a higher law than that of 
the realm, which Charles was continually making, needed no 
discussion, because no case had really arisen making such an 
appeal needful. 

Such is the point of view which the modern reader should 

keep resolutely before his eyes. If the gentry who closed their 

purses against the loan had believed that a real danger 

Point of * e 

view from existed, or that Buckingham's policy was really cal- 

which the e -r\ 

question is to culated to advance the cause of Protestantism, they 
would surely not have been extreme to mark any 
deviation from the strict laws of constitutional propriety. Many 
of them were the same men who in 1621 and in 1624 had kept 
silence on the subject of the impositions, deeply as they felt 
the wrong which had been done to them. Their belief that 
the whole argument from necessity was based upon a fiction 
must be taken for granted ; but it was none the less present 
to their minds because they veiled it in silence before that 
sovereign whom they longed to honour and reverence above all 
human beings. 

At last five of the prisoners Sir Thomas Darnel, Sir John 
Corbet, Sir Walter Erie, Sir John Heveningham, and Sir Ed- 
mund Hampden appealed to the Court of King's 

Five of the 

prisoners de- Bench for a habeas corpus, in order that they might 
fiZhfat e ' know what their offence had been. On November 15 
they were brought to the bar, and the 22nd was ap- 
pointed for the argumen*- of their counsel. 

Four notable lawyer.,, Bramston, Noy, Selden, and Cal- 

1 25 Edw. III., Rolls of Parliament, ii. 239, compared with ii. 230. 


throp appeared for the defence. It was admitted on both sides 
NOV. 22. that the King and the Council had a right to commit 
The defence. t o p r i son DU t it was held on the part of the de- 
fendants that the cause of committal must be expressed in order 
that the case might come before the Court of King's Bench, 
which would proceed to bail the prisoner or to remand him to 
prison, if it saw fit, till the day of trial came. From this point 
of view the King and the Privy Council would be reduced to 
the position occupied in less important cases by ordinary jus- 
tices of the peace. They would merely prepare the case for 
the King's Bench, and if they were too long in their prepara- 
tions, the judges, on being appealed to, would set the prisoner 
at liberty on bail. 

Whether this theory were right or wrong, it is certain that 
for many years it had not tjeen in accordance with the practice. 
The Privy Council had again and again kept persons in prison, 
as dangerous to the State, without attempting to bring them 
to trial, 1 and those so imprisoned had patiently awaited their 
deliverance from the King's mercy, without venturing an appeal 
to a court of justice. On their side the Privy Councillors 
had taken their own time in preparing accusations, sometimes 
because fresh evidence was expected, sometimes because they 
had reasons for keeping the prisoner shut up as long as pos- 

Inspired by the indignation which had blazed up everywhere 

on the imposition of the loan, these four lawyers now stood 

forward to plead that all this was utterly illegal. They 

Argument . . , , ...... . 

from Magna had much to say in defence of their position. The 
Great Charter, they urged, declared that ' no man 
should be imprisoned except by the legal judgment of his peers, 
or by the law of the land,' and these latter words, they said, were 
interpreted by certain statutes of the time of Edward III. to 
mean ' due process of law,' which an examination before the 
Privy Council was not. They then drew attention to the con- 
sequences which would result from any other interpretation. 

1 Arabella Stuart, for instance, and more recently the Earl of Arundel, 
for whom no claim had been put forward, except when Parliament was 


If the Privy Council could imprison without showing a cause 
upon which the Court of King's Bench could act, a man might 
never leave his prison till he was released by death. The argu- 
and from ment was followed by a long string of precedents in 
precedents. wn i c h persons committed by the Privy Council had 
been brought before the King's Bench to be bailed as a pre- 
paration for trial. 

When the argument was concluded, the decorum of the 
place was startled by unusual sounds. Men shouted out their 
Effectofthe approval and clapped their hands for joy. 1 Even 
argument. the judges themselves were shaken. " Mr. Attorney," 
said Jones, "if it be so that the law of Magna Carta and other 
statutes be now in force, and the gentlemen be not delivered 
by this Court, how shall they be delivered ? Apply yourselves 
to show us any other way to deliver them." " Or else," said 
Doderidge, "they shall have a perpetual imprisonment." 

Heath was not likely to startle the Court by placing his 
argument for the Crown in an extravagant form. The prece- 
NOV. 26. dents on the other side he met by showing, at least 
argument for to his own satisfaction, that they were all cases in 
the Crown, which the King had voluntarily handed over the 
prisoners to be dealt with in the King's Bench, and that they 
therefore proved nothing as to the course which the Court 
ought to take if the King refused to do so. Further, he urged 
that due process of law extended to committals by the King, 
just as it extended to committals by the House of Commons, and 
that therefore the Court of King's Bench had no right to inter- 
fere. In Queen Elizabeth's time the judges, as was proved by a 
statement alleged incorrectly as it afterwards appeared to 
have been drawn up by Chief Justice Anderson, had decided, 
after due consultation, that the King was not bound in all cases 
to show cause. For, as Heath argued, one of two things might 
happen. There might be persons who had committed no crime 
which would bring them under the ordinary penalties of the law, 
but whose liberty would be dangerous to the State. In support 
of this theory he referred to the children of an Irish chieftain, 

1 ^ to Meade, Nov. 23, Court und Times, i. 292. 


who had themselves done no wrong, but who had been con- 
demned to a lifelong imprisonment in the Tower, lest their libe- 
ration should be the signal for a revolution in Ireland. Upon 
this branch of his argument, however, the Attorney- General 
did not lay much stress. The days were long passed when 
in England at least any individual was likely to be dangerous 
from his social position, and Heath had more to say on the 
other branch of his argument. It was the duty of the Privy 
Council to prepare matters for trial. These matters, often in- 
volving the discovery of deeply laid plots, frequently demanded 
a long time to disentangle their intricacies. If the cause of 
committal were at once signified, and the trial hurried on, accom- 
plices would escape and the ends of justice would be frustrated. 
All that the judges were asked to do was to trust the King so 
far as to take it for granted that he had good reasons for with- 
holding the case for the present from their knowledge. 

The next day judgment was delivered. If Coke had been 

upon the Bench he would probably have seized the opportunity 

NOV 28 ^ assertm g th 6 supremacy of the Court over all 

Thejudg- causes whatever. But Hyde was not a Coke ; and 

though the other judges Whitelocke, Doderidge, 

and Jones were honourable men, they were not likely to see 

their way clearly in so difficult a path. The judges took a 

middle course. 1 Adopting Heath's view of the statutes and 

1 Whitelocke, when examined in the House of Lords, declared that 
the prisoners might have had a fresh habeas corpus the next day, and that 
the Judges only took time to advise. " I did never see nor know," he 
said, "by any record that upon such a return as this a man was bailed, the 
King not first consulted with in such a case as this. The Commons' House 
do not know what letters and commands we receive, for these remain in 
onr Court and are not viewed by them. " I do not understand these last 
words as implying that there were private solicitations and threats addressed 
to the Judges, for these could not be said to remain in court. I fancy the 
argument is that the Judges had a right to decide whether they would 
liberate or no, and that they ought to decide in favour of liberty if the pris- 
oner remained in prison too long ; but that the special mandate of the King 
was a primd facie argument that there was a good cause, though it was not 
expressed. All that was needed was that the Judges should be convinced 
that there was a good cause, and for this it was not necessary to have the case 

1627 BAIL REFUSED. 217 

precedents, they held that it would he impertinence on their 
part to hasten the King's proceedings. They therefore refused 
to admit the prisoners to bail ; but, on the other hand, they 
refused to leave any evidence on the records of the Court that 
they held that the Crown might persistently refuse to show 
cause. 1 

It was perhaps best as it was. The question in debate 
opened up so many issues too wide to be determined by the de- 
The question cision of a purely legal tribunal, that it was well that it 
not settled, should be discussed in an assembly more competent 
to rise to the height of the great argument. For it is evident 
that Heath's strongest point as a lawyer would be his weakest 
when he came to appeal to statesmen. The judges might 
nesitate to sanction a doctrine which might allow a wily 
Pretender to the crown to wander about untouched on English 
soil, or might force on the premature disclosure of the clue by 
which the Government hoped to come upon the traces of some 
second Gunpowder Plot. The multitude, which had broken 
through the stern rules of etiquette by applauding the popular 
lawyers a week before, knew full well that nothing of the kind 
was really at issue at the moment. Eliot and Hampden had 
no influence in England beyond that of the principles which 
they professed. It was a matter of notoriety that there was no 
fresh evidence to be collected, no deep conspiracy to be tracked 
in its secret windings. If all that Charles wanted was to obtain 
the decision of the Court of King's Bench upon the legality of 
the loan, he might have sent every one of the prisoners to trial 
months before as easily as he could now. 

Yet the prospect of seeing the legality of the King's pro- 
ceedings discussed in Parliament seemed more distant than 
ever. The Duke talked confidently of ruining French commerce, 
and of carrying on the war for many years. 2 He argued that 

argued in open court. This information they would derive from letters 
and commands,' and would exercise the discretion which a police magis- 
trate now exercises when he grants a remand upon application in open court, 
on the -ground that the evidence is not complete. Rushworth, i. <>6o 

1 State Trials, iii. I. 

8 Contarini to the Doge, Dec. --, Ven. Transcripts, R. 0. 


what had happened was no fault of his. His honour was safe. 
He had been deserted by those who ought to have succoured 
The Duke's mm at home. But, whatever the explanation might 
difficulties, be, there was no turn in the tide of his mishaps. In 
the beginning of December it was settled that Carlisle should 
go upon the Continent, to take up the web of intrigue which 
Walter Montague 1 had spun. In a few days news arrived that 
an officer commissioned by Richelieu had swooped 

W. Monta- . - , , 

gue seized by down upon Montague as he was passing through 
10 ' Lorraine, and, in spite of the protection of neutral 
territory, had carried him and his despatches to Paris. Mon- 
tague was lodged in the Bastille. His papers, with all they had 
to tell of intrigues with the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine and 
with the French aristocracy, were under the cold, penetrating 
eyes of the Cardinal. 2 

At home matters were in the greatest possible confusion. 
Before the end of November Buckingham had gone to Ports- 
mouth, and had distributed money in his affable way 
money at amongst the soldiers and sailors ; 3 but he could do 
no more than satisfy them for a time. His back 
was hardly turned when letter after letter came to assure him 
that everything was in disorder. 4 At Plymouth the sailors 
were stealing and selling the soldiers' arms ; all were without 
Miseryofthe sufficient clothes in the wintry weather ; the ships 
sailors. were leaky, and there were scarcely sailors enough 
on board to carry them round to the Medway to be docked at 
Chatham. 5 The soldiers were paid till the loth of December, 
but there was no means of doing anything more. 6 Captain 
Mason was sent down to set matters straight, but he reported 
that Sir James Bagg, whose business it had been to pay the 

1 See page 167. 

2 Contarini to the Doge, Dec. ; Beaulieu to Puckering, Dec. 12, 19. 
Meade to Stuteville, Dec. 15, Court and Times, i. 303-307. Richelieu, 

* Contarini to the Doge, ^ '", Yen. Transcripts, R. O. 

4 Bagg to Buckingham, Nov. 29 ; Courtney to Buckingham, Nov. 29, 
S. P. Dam. Ixxxv. 61, 64. 

1 Holland to Buckingham, Dec. 5, ibid. Ixxxvi. 15. 

Bagg t - Buckingham, Dec. 7, ibid. Ixxxvi. 77. 

1627 MONEY MUST BE HAD. 219 

men. had received large sums for which he was unable or un- 
willing to account 1 At Portsmouth matters were even worse. 
Many of the ships' companies prepared to desert in a body, and 
to march up to Whitehall with their complaints. It was only 
upon a false assurance that money was coming to relieve them 
at Christmas, that they consented to remain on board. They 
had not, they said, been paid for ten months. Their clothes 
were worn out, and they knew not what to do. 2 

If the sailors were in evil plight no one suffered but them- 
selves. The soldiers billeted about the country spread the 
The soldiers' mischief in all directions. It was bad enough for a 
outrages. quiet countryman to be forced to entertain, for due 
payment, a number of rough young men whose character before 
they were pressed into the service was probably none of the 
best ; but when payment did not come the burden threatened 
to become utterly unendurable. The Irish quartered in Essex 
were especially obnoxious to the peasant. They treated him 
and his family as the dust beneath their feet. They flung about 
the goodwife's household utensils. They broke the furniture, 
and threw the meat into the fire if it did not suit their tastes. 3 
A German peasant would perhaps have wondered at their 
gentleness, and would have thanked God that they did not 
proceed to graver outrages still In England, what was done 
was enough to rouse public indignation in classes which the 
loan had hardly reached. 

At all costs money must be had. The loan had brought in 
on the whole 236, ooo/., only 52,ooo/. less than the sum origin- 
Means pro- ally expected. 4 There was a talk, if rumour might 
u1ng for be believed, of recurring to a fresh loan ; * but the 
money. idea, if it was ever seriously entertained, was soon 
abandoned, excepting so far as io,ooo/. were extracted on some 
pretence or other from the Six Clerks of the Court of Chancery. 

1 Mascn to Buckingham, Dec. 13, S. P. Dow. Ixxxvi. 70, 75. 
1 Watts to Buckingham, Dec. 16, ibid. Ixxxvi. 83, 86. 
* The inhabitants of Maldon to the Council, with inclosures, Feb. IO 
(?), S. P. Dom. xcii. 85. 

4 State of the loan up to Nov. 30, ibid. Ixxxv. 77. 
to Meade, Nov. 30, Co^^rt and Times, i. 296. 


The only resource left was the mortgage or sale of Crown lands. 
In this way 143,0007. were obtained in the half-year beginning 
at Michaelmas, and on December 1 7 the City of London agreed 
to pay i2o,ooo/. by instalments on the security of the King's 
rents from landed property. 1 

The whole sum thus obtained was 263,0007. ; but even this 
amount, large as it was, did not cover the deficit of the past 
Pressing y ear > tne anticipations on the revenue on December 
necessities. 2 g amounting to 319,0007., 2 or little less than two- 
thirds of the whole ordinary revenue of the Crown. Even if 
this could be paid off, the pressuHe of the preparations for war 
was enormous. Together with the recruits which had been 
levied to reinforce Buckingham at Rhe, there were now 7,557 
land soldiers and 4,000 seamen, entitled to pay at the rate of 
20o,ooo/. a year. If fifty sail were to be sent out in the spring, 
iio,ooo/. more would be needed for repairs and munitions, 3 
and there was besides the immediate necessity of providing 
and sending out the provisions urgently wanted by Rochelle 
before its supplies were cut off by the besieging forces. 

The one thing needed was to make peace. Peace, how- 
ever, was the last thing of which either Buckingham or Charles 
thought. The dislike of the French war, which was universal 
in the nation, had settled down even upon the Privy Council. 
Some of its members were less outspoken than others; but 
those who had the best opportunities of judging were of opinion 
that Charles and the Lord High Admiral stood alone in their 
resolution to resist all reasonable overtures of peace. 

Not, indeed, that Charles and Buckingham acknowledged the 
case to be so in their own minds. When the King of France 
Charles de- sent back the prisoners taken at Rhe without demand- 
"r^fng on m a ransom, 4 the Venetian ambassador thought it a 
the war. f a j r opportunity to urge Charles to meet these ad- 
vances in a conciliatory spirit " I will not say," was the King's 

! Proceedings of the Common Council, Dec. 17, S. P. Dom. Ixxxvi. 97. 
* List of anticipations, Dec. 29, ibid. Ixxxvii. 63. 
1 Note of charges, Dec. 22, S. P. Dom. Ixxxvii. 35. 

4 Contarini to the Doge, Dec. j|, Ven. Transcripts, K. 0, 


reply, " that the retreat was fortunate, but neither can I assert 
that it was ruinous. My intentions were always directed towards 
the common cause, without the remotest thought of ever gain- 
ing a span of territory from France, knowing that circumstances 
were unsuited to such a design. Had not the King my brother 
allowed me to give a guarantee for the Huguenots, I should 
never have stirred. But as his intentions were always false and 
feigned, as appeared by his actions in the employment of 
Mansfeld, in the league for the Valtelline, and in the affair of 
the edicts he promised to the Huguenots, I deemed it a lesser 
evil to have him for an open enemy than to have him for a 
false friend, m order that I might prevent his corrupt policy 
from taking effect. I am aware that this is not the moment 
for calling him to account for the lesser injuries he has done 
me. Whenever he makes me think he is of the same mind 
with myself, I shall readily join him in the relief of Germany. 

" But he is determined to destroy Rochelle, and I am 
determined to support it ; for I will never allow my word to 
be forfeited. 

" I believe that the safest plan would be to recommence 
operations, and to send an army of 20,000 men to Rochelle, 
from which point succour could be given to the whole Huguenot 
body. I am convinced that in this way I and the King of 
France will be the sooner friends." 

In much the same way Buckingham spoke " The French," 
he said, " have vowed to destroy Rochelle, and we to preserve 
Bucki-g- ik As l n g as 'his punctilio exists there is no use 
ham'sviews. j n treating or speaking of peace. Let all men beware 
of dealing with Frenchmen, for they are thoroughly false." l 

With such sentiments as these peace was hopeless. Yet 
how were the growing expenses of the war to be met ? Buck- 
ingham, audacious as ever, advocated the calling of a Parlia- 
ment. The last of all men to believe that his actions would 
not stand the light, he threw himself on his knees before the 

1 Contarini to the Doge, , ec ' ' 3 , Ven. Transcripts. R. 0. As I have 
' Jan. 2 

merely a translation of a translation to give, I have altered some of the 
less important words, so as to bring out the sense more clearly. 


King. If he were found worthy of death, he said, let them 
not spare him. 1 After Christmas he made the same proposal 
in open council, but the King would not hear of such a 
measure. The Councillors knew not what to think when they 
heard the great Duke pleading for once in vain. They fancied 
there was some collusion, and that the scene had been pre- 
arranged for the purpose of winning popularity for the favourite. 
Then was seen the effect of such predominance as Bucking 
ham's upon the men whom he had trained to flatter, not to 
counsel. Not a man ventured to open his mouth to give 
advice. The sovereign and the favourite were isolated at the 
council board as they were in the nation. 2 

It is far more likely that Buckingham expressed his real 
opinions. The Council, however, had to obey the King, and 
they were called upon to discuss the best means 
the Council of filling up the deficiency irregularly. 3 They were 
' first asked to declare whether they would themselves 
render obedience to any resolution which might be taken. 
Proposed Upon their answering in the affirmative, they came to 
excise. fa c conclusion that some excise upon commodities 
beer or wine to begin with would be necessary. And yet 
how was it to be done ? Persuasion, it was generally recognised, 
would be of no avail. Any attempt to impose the new taxes 
by force would be met by an appeal to the courts of law, and 
the courts of law were certain to decide against the Crown. 
The only resort from this difficulty would be a proclamation, 
the contravention of which would be punishable in the Star 

1 Meade to Stuteville, Dec. 15, Court and Times, \. 304. 

* Contarini to the Doge, Jan. ~, Ven. Transcripts, R. O. 

* This debate in the Council is from a paper which was used by Hallam 
(Hargrove MSS. 321, p. 300). It is a modern copy taken by some one 
who could not properly read the original, and is in some parts unintelligible. 
Its date is not given ; but from a statement in Contarini's despatch last 
quoted, that the Council had been occupied with schemes for laying im- 
positions on commodities, I have no doubt that the discussion took place 
in the last week of the year. At all events, as the King's last words show, 
it must have been before Jan. 30. 


It would be interesting to know from whom the last lecom- 
mendation proceeded ; but the brief notes which alone have 
reached us are silent on this head Whoever the bold man may 
have been, the King felt himself called upon once more to 
justify so unheard-of a proceeding. " If there were any other 
way," he said, " I would tarry for your advices. I can find no 
other real way. For the particulars, I have thought of some. 
If you can find any easier, I will hearken to it. To call a 
Parliament, the occasion will not let me tarry so long." 

Was it really only the want of time which hindered the 
calling of a Parliament ? At all events the courtiers were bound 
to believe that it was so. When the King proceeded to support 
the plan for an excise upon beer and wine, they all assented 
to the wisdom of the proposal. Suffolk, Laud, and Weston 
agreed that something of the kind must be done. Buckingham 
spoke at greater length. In obedience to Charles he had by 
this time abandoned the idea of a Parliament, and he fell back 
upon the idea of strengthening the throne by military force, 
which he had entertained in 1624.' "Had you not spent all 
your own means," he is reported to have said, addressing the 
King, " and yet your friends lost, I would not have advised this 
way. But being raised to defend religion, your kingdoms, and 
your friends, I see no other way but this. Neighbour kings are 
now beyond you in revenue . . . therefore, not I, but necessity 
pf affairs." The army, he went on to say, would require 200,000^., 
and 3<Do,ooo/. would be needed for the navy. The army would 
be kept at home as a standing force of 11,000 men, 
force pro- in readiness to be employed in the relief of Rochelle 
or of the King of Denmark, as the case might re- 
quire. On December 29 it was formally resolved that a fleet 
of 100 sail should be got ready in the ensuing summer. 8 To 
the demand for an army, apart from any expeditionary force 
to be actually employed for a definite purpose, all who spoke, 
with the single exception of Sir John Savile, gave their ap- 
probation. As a military measure it would be an admirable 
precaution to have a standing depot at home ; but what would 

1 See Vol. V. p. 195. * Council Register, Dec. 29. 


be its effect upon the civil constitution ? Were the armed men, 
in the intervals of fighting at Rochelle or in Denmark, to force 
the new taxes upon England in defiance of courts of law and 
universal indignation ? ' Nor was this the only danger. Dulbier, 
i6zg now Buckingham's chief military adviser, was to be 
January, sent over to Germany with Sir William Balfour to 
tangent levy a thousand German horse, who were to form the 
cavalry of this force. It would probably be hard to 
convince those who heard the news that nothing more than a 
mere measure of military precaution was intended. That Dul- 
bier's horsemen were intended as a threat to the English oppo- 
nents of the Government is a belief which has been frequently 
adopted by modern writers. But, after all, there is one cir- 
cumstance which militates against this interpretation. Already, 
on December 29, the King had declared his intention of re- 
viewing the cavalry of the militia of the ten counties nearest 
London ; 2 and it seems incredible that, if Charles had really 
intended to suppress resistance by the sword, he should think 
of calling out a body of armed men who, as drawn from a class 
whose possessions were larger than those of the foot militia, 
were hardly likely to stand by in silence whilst their countrymen 
were being trodden down by a handful of German horse. 
Probably, after all, nothing more was meant by Balfour and 
Dulbier's commission than met the eye. It would only be one 
more example of Charles's extreme ignorance of the people 
amongst whom he lived if he fancied that he could summon 

1 Conway to the Clerk of the Signet, Jan. 14, S. P. Doni. xc. 80. 
The last suspicion was strongly entertained by Contarini in his despatch of 
P"' 2 . Mr. Forster (Sir J. Eliot, \. 417) has suggested that they were in- 
tended to overawe the Parliament. But the arrangements were made before 
a Parliament was determined on. Still there may have been some eventual 
intention of this kind. Mr. Forster was aware that the order for the money 
for Balfour and Dulbier was signed on the joth of January. But he does 
not seem to have noticed Conway's letter for its preparation as early as 
the I4th. That Dulbier's horsemen were to be Roman Catholics is a later 
invention. They were levied in North Germany, and were subsequently 
transferred to the army of Gustavus. Dulbier was taken prisoner by Tilly 
at New Brandenburg. Charles wrote in vain to request his liberation. 

* Council Register, Dec. 20. 


them to his defence at the same time that he was pressing them 
down with illegal taxation, and flaunting in their eyes the ban- 
ners of his foreign mercenaries. 

The deliberations of the Council about raising money 

dragged on more slowly than their deliberations about raising 

men. The more the subject was discussed the less easy it 

must have seemed to venture upon so flagrant a breach of the 

law as the scheme which had been mooted. Avowedly 

The pro- . . . . t i i * 

posed excise or tacitly the proposed excise was abandoned for a 
time. The next scheme which rose and died away 
was one to compel every parish to keep three armed men in 
readiness at its own cost, thus producing a force of rather more 
than 30,000 men. Towards the end of January the Council as- 
sembled daily. One plan after another was discussed, and some 
even took heart to maintain, in the face of the King and the 
Duke, that it would be better to withdraw altogether from the 
Continent, and to be content with maintaining a strong defence 
at home. No names are given, but the counsel is attributed to 
the Spanish faction, the old opponents of the war, of whom 
Weston was the sole remaining Privy Councillor, though he 
may possibly have been supported by other voices at such a 
time. 1 

Nor was this the only unpalatable advice to which Charles 
was compelled to listen. Those who were disinclined to with- 
draw altogether from interference on the Continent told him 
plainly that the only alternative was a Parliament. 2 One ob- 
stacle, indeed, no longer stood in the way. On January 2 
orders 3 had been given that the prison doors should 

Release of 

thep.isoners be opened to those who had been confined for their 
inent about refusal to pay the loan. Seventy-six persons in all, 
some imprisoned, some in banishment in different 
counties, were -permitted to return home, but we may be certain 
that not one of the whole number felt the slightest gratitude for 

> Contarini to the Doge, Jan. ' 2 ' ^"b" 8 . V - Transcripts, R. 0. 

* Council Register, Jan. 2. 

* The King to the Council ; the King to Worcester, Jan. 25, S. f. 
Dom. xci. 52. Docquet Book. 



the word which had unbarred the doors closed upon them by 
the decree of arbitrary power. 

On January 25 the King, who had not yet consented to 

summon Parliament, ordered a fresh issue of Privy seals, the 

old resource of the forced loan under another form. 

Jan. 25 

Privy seals The next few days were spent in urging upon the 
proposed. unw illing Charles the necessity of calling a Parlia- 
ment. The leading personages at Court 1 their names have 
not reached us gave their personal guarantee that no attempt 
should be made to renew the Duke's impeachment. 

Jan. 30. 

Parliament At a late hour on the night of the 3oth Charles gave 
eet ' way, and orders were given that writs should be issued 
for a new Parliament. 2 

Nothing, however, was further from Charles's intention than 
to place himself without conditions in the hands of the House 
of Commons. As sheriffs were chosen in November, it was too 
late to have recourse in January to the manoeuvre which had 
been practised two years before ; but various schemes were 
canvassed for making the Lower House pliable. It is even said 
that it was proposed to issue a proclamation excluding all law- 
yers from sitting, and it was decided that any attempt to touch 
the Duke should be followed by an immediate dissolution. In 
that case the King would consider himself no longer bound 
by the laws and customs of the realm. 3 

Parliament was not even to be allowed the option of giving 
or refusing. It was to meet on March 1 7, and the fleet was to 
put to sea on the ist. A scheme for levying subsidies before 
they were granted approved itself highly to Charles's mind. 
His fleets since 1625 had been largely composed of vessels 
demanded from the port towns and the maritime counties. The 
idea of a universal ship-money to be levied in every county 
in England seemed to him to be merely a further extension of 

1 Pembroke, one would guess a likely man. 

2 The date, with the rest of the facts, I get from Contarini's despatch of 

J. an ' - 1 . He is more likely to know than Me.ade, who gives Jan. 28. 

fee. 10 

Ian. 21 

Contarini to the Doge, vr-g , Veil, Transcripts, fi. O. 


the old principle. On February 1 1 letters were issued to all the 
Feb. ii. shires. The distress of the King of Denmark, the 
to h be coi" ey ru * n f English commerce in Germany and the Baltic, 
kcted. th e danger to Rochelle and the Protestant religion, 
and the possibility of invasion from France and Spain were 
made the most of. It was asserted that the fleet must go to sea 
before Parliament could be brought together, and it was stated 
that if the money were paid at once the King would allow Parlia- 
ment to meet ; if not, he would think of some other way. The 
sum assessed upon each county must be levied and paid into 
the Exchequer by March i. The whole sum demanded in 
England was*i73,ooo/. 1 On the i5th the clergy were ordered 
to pay 2o,ooo/. as a free gift. 2 

A few days brought wiser counsels. Lord Northampton, 
when he made the unheard-of demand in Warwickshire, of 
which county he was Lord Lieutenant, was told to his face that 
he had promised that the last loan should be repaid, and was 
asked how he could expect to draw more money from the sub- 
jects' purses. In Berkshire the Earl of Banbury, the honest 
Wallingford of James's reign, refused to raise his voice in favour 
of ship-money, on the ground that he had engaged, if the loan 
were paid, never to ask anything unparliamentary again. Such 
words were doubtless but samples of others uttered all over 
The orders England. Charles swiftly drew back, revoked his 
revoked. letters, and hung up ship-money in the Royal armoury 
of projects to be used as occasion might require. 3 

Charles, however, could not understand that the insuperable 

objection which his subjects appeared to entertain towards 

the payment of ship-money extended to all unpar- 

CommisMon liamentary taxation whatever. On February 29 he 

:ise ' issued a commission to the leading members of the 
Privy Council, directing them to consider all the best and 
speediest ways and means of raising money ' by impositions or 

1 The King to the Sheriffs of Anglesea, Feb. u ; List of the sums 
levied on the counties (Feb. li), S. P. Dom. xcii. 88, 93. 

2 The King to Archbishop Abbot, Feb. 15, S. P. Dom, xcrii. 39. 

* Beaulieu to Puckering, Feb. 20 ; Meade to Stuteville, Feb. 22, 
Court an^ Tim-t, \ 322 324. 



otherwise ' as they might think best, ' in a case of this inevitable 
liecessity, wherein form and circumstance must be dispensed 
with rather than the substance be lost or hazarded.' l 

That Charles should have imagined it to be possible that 
he could raise money in such a manner is indeed strange. 
All that can be said is that he was in desperate 
o ockade straits. While he was racking his brains Rochelle was 
elle< perishing. Ever since November the city had been 
blockaded. A line of entrenchments cut it off from all com- 
munication with the country around, and the Cardinal, in the 
midst of the winter storms, restlessly superintended the erection 
of two vast piers projecting from either side'of the long 
harbour to bar the passage of succours from without The 
Rochellese, bold seamen as they were, had not force enough 
FO resist the Royal fleet. Their deputies reminded Charles 
that: they had deprived themselves of provisions to supply 
Buckingham's wants, and Charles felt it a point of honour 
to restore the means of subsistence of which he had stripped 

Denbigh was to take command of the convoy which was to 

protect the store-ships laden with supplies for Rochelle ; but 

Denbigh at trie same causes which had hindered Holland stood 

Plymouth. m t h e wav o f jjjg departure. The convoy was not 

ready, and the bread, beer, and cheese were spoiling in har- 

' bour. 2 On March 15 everything was in disorder. 

The ships needed repairs. Men ran away as soon 

as they were pressed. The 26th was talked of as the day on 

which all would be ready. But unless six hundred men could 

be pressed and kept from deserting, the fleet could not sail. 3 

On land matters were as bad. At Banbury, encouraged 
perhaps by the near neighbourhood of Lord Saye, men refused 
to contribute to the billeting of the soldiers. In Dorsetshire, 
when the promised payments from the Exchequer were not 
forthcoming, the men were turned out of doors to steal or 

1 Commission, Feb. 29. Par/. Hist. ii. 417. 

2 Burlamachi to Conway, Feb. (?), S. P. Dom. xciv. 103. 

* Denbigh to Buckingham, March 15 ; Manwaring to Buckingham, 
March 16, S. P. Dom. xcvi. 3, n. 

1628 THE ELECTIONS. 229 

starve. 1 It might be feared that, unless money could be found 
speedily, all England would be in an uproar. 

All this while the elections were going on, and with a few 
rare exceptions they vent against the Crown. Those who had 
refused the loan were sure of seats. The House when it met 
would be as stern in its opposition to illegal measures as the 
Parliament of 1626. 

1 Banbury to Manchester, Feb. 28 ; Deputy Lieutenants of Dorset- 
shire to Suffolk, March I, S. P. Dam. xciv. 73, xcv. 8. 




ON March 1 7 the Houses met. The sermon was preached by 

Laud, on the text, " Endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit 

in the bond of peace." The tone of the sermon was 

March 17. r . 

Laud's somewhat plaintive. Three years before he had set 
forth, in the presence of the first Parliament of the 
reign, his theory of the constitution. 1 The King was to do 
judgment and justice ; the Parliament, by its knowledge of all 
that was passing in the realm, was to give him information 
which would enable him to govern with full understanding. 
The hope that this would be a picture of Charles's reign 
had turned out to be a dream, and the preacher had no other 
explanation to give than the evils of distraction and discord 
against which he warned his hearers. 2 

It never entered into Laud's head that he was doing his 
best to foment the distraction and discord which he deplored, 
The meeting by teaching Charles the lesson which he was already 
oftheCoin- rs to P rone to learn, that he had nothing but informa- 
mons. ti on t o look for from his subjects. The events of 

the past year had brought the King's authority in question in a 
way in which it had not been brought in question before. A 
few days before the opening of the session a meeting of the 
leading members of the House of Commons had been held at 
the house of Sir Robert Cotton. There was a general feeling 

1 See p. 204. " Laud's Works, \, 149. 


that the attack upon Buckingham should not be repeated, and 
Eliot, who was of the contrary opinion, withdrew his opposition 
in the face of the general sentiment, reserving his right to revert 
to his original position at some future time. To the others it 
was becoming clear, notwithstanding their reluctance to face 
the truth, that the main struggle was with the King and not 
with Buckingham. The gravity of the situation impressed itself 
on their minds. A whole range of questions opened up before 
them, every one of them possibly leading to a complete disloca- 
tion of the relations existing between the King and his people. 
Coke and Phelips, Wentworth and Selden, concurred in the 
opinion that the violated rights of the subject must first be 
vindicated. The very being of the commonwealth, they de- 
clared, was at stake. 1 

If there had been any doubt before of the difficulty of the 

work to which the new Parliament had to address itself, there 

could be none after the King's speech was delivered. 

March 17. r 

The King's Charles seemed determined to console himself for 
the unpleasant necessity of calling Parliament at all 
by treating the Houses with studied rudeness. He at least did 
not ' endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of 
peace.' He had called his subjects together, he said, in order 
that means might be provided to meet the common danger. If 
they failed to do their duty in this, he must, in discharge of his 
conscience, use those other means which God had put in his 
hands. They were not to take this as a threat, ' for he scorned 
to threaten any but his equals ;' but he wished them to under- 
stand that, though he was ready to forget their distractions in 
the last Parliament, he expected them to alter their conduct. 2 

This time there had been no attempt to exclude anyone 
from the House of Commons. Yet in spite of all that had 
Certain ^ een sa ^ an( ^ done in the last Parliament, when the 
Peersabsent. L orc i s took their seats, Abbot and Williams, Arundel, 
Bristol, and Lincoln were absent from their places. The Peers 
quickly called the roll of the House, and instituted inquiry into 
the reasons of their absence. In a few days the missing 

Fcrster, Sir J. Eliot t ii. I. * Lord? Journals, iii. 687. 


members took their places without further hindrance. Since 
the last Parliament every one of the five had suffered much from 
the Government. Abbot had been suspended from the exercise 
of his functions ; Williams had been kept in banishment in his 
diocese ; Arundel had been placed under restraint, nominally 
for his part in his son's marriage in reality, it would seem, as 
an opponent of the warlike policy of the Court ; Lincoln had 
resisted the loan, and had been sent to the Tower ; Bristol 
had been summoned before the Star Chamber to 
chamber * answer to the charges which Charles had been driven 
lon ' to bring against him in the last session. He had, 
however, fallen seriously ill, and his illness had been taken as 
an excuse for postponing the prosecution indefinitely. It is 
hardly likely that it was more than an excuse. He had professed 
his readiness to produce the private correspondence relating to 
the journey to Madrid, and it would scarcely be pleasant to 
Charles to see that mystery laid open, even before a Court as 
devoted as the Star Chamber. 1 

The ability and tact of Bristol alone might make a great 
difference to the Government if its fortune ever came to depend 
on the opinion of the Upper House. For the present the main 
interest was in the Commons. The root of the evils com- 
plained of lay in the King's claim to withdraw from the cog- 
nisance of the judges all cases of imprisonment by his own 
command. If Charles could be deprived of the assumed right 
of punishing offenders against his will, it would matter little 
what commands he might choose to give. He might ask for 
loans and taxes as he pleased. No one would be the worse, if 
the judges invariably liberated persons committed to prison 
for refusing to comply with his illegal requirements. Such 
at least seems to have been Coke's opinion. On the 2ist 
March 21. he brought in a Bill providing that, except by the 
oni^ruHL sentence of a Court, no person should be detained 
mcnt. untried in prison for more than two months if he 

could find bail, or for more than three months if he could not. 2 
Whether Coke intended by this Bill to meet all the difficul- 

1 Interrogatories to Porter, Shcrborne MSS, 
3 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 15. Nicholas's 


ties of the case we cannot tell, but it was certain that the 
burning indignation which was in men's hearts would soon find 
expression in a more sweeping form. The next day something 
March 22 was sa '^ a t>out supply. " If his Majesty," said Sey- 
Seymouron mour, " shall be persuaded to take what he will, what 
need we to give ? " Sermons had been preached to 
persuade the people that all they had was the King's. The 
question of supply was one to be discussed seriously in com- 
mittee. 1 

In vain Edmondes and May, on the part of the Government, 
pleaded that the House should forget and forgive. In a speech 
EHot ^ won d rous power and comprehensiveness, Eliot 

declares drew a lively picture of the past misgovernment. It 

against arbi- \ \ 

trary taxa- was no question, he told his hearers, whether they 
would forget and forgive. The question at issue 
was the very existence of the ancient laws and liberties of 
England. If these laws were set aside, all right of property 
was at an end. " It falls," he said, " into the old chaos and 
confusion, the will and pleasure of the mightier powers." It was 
no mere question of money, no mere temporary breach of the 
law under pressure of necessity, which might be considered as 
being of no more consequence than any other accident. " Yes," 
he cried, "it is of more ; more than is pretended ; more than 
can be uttered. Upon this dispute not alone our lands and 
goods are engaged, but all that we call ours. These rights, these 
privileges, which made our fathers freemen, are in question. If 
they be not now the more carefully preserved, they will I fear 
render us to posterity less free, less worthy than our fathers. 
For this particular admits a power to antiquate the laws. It 
gives leave to the State " the Government, as we should now 
say " besides the Parliament, to annihilate or decline any Act 
of Parliament ; and that which is done in one thing, or at one 
time, may be done in more or oftener." 

' This debate is not given by Nicholas. I have adopted the order of 
speeches in the Harl. MS., which is confirmed by Phelips, who ai the end 
of the debate referred to the principal speeches in the same order as that 
given above. The ordinary arrangement, which was adopted by Mr. For 
stcr, is. I believe, quite wrong. 


All the evil, the great orator went on to say, sprang from 
the danger of innovation in religion. Favour had been shown 
within the Church to those who were most in unison 
of the P state with Rome, and even to Rome itself. No man in 
of rehgion. n g] an( j h a( j any interest in attacking the ancient 
liberties of the kingdom ' but that false party in religion which 
to their Romish idol sacrifice all other interests and respects.' 
There was a danger therefore in ' the habit of disregarding and 
violating laws.' "Apply to religion," said Eliot, "what has 
been propounded as to moneys exacted for the loan. We 
possess laws providing first in general against all forms- of inno- 
vation, and also careful in particular to prevent the practice 
of our enemies by exclusion of their instruments, by restraining 
of their proselytes, by restricting their ceremonies, by abolish- 
ing their sorceries. Sir, while these laws continue, while they 
retain their power and operation, it is impossible but that we 
should in this point be safe. Without that change also in our 
policy by which law is set at nought, there could not be an 
innovation in religion." 

The attack upon the liberties of the subject, and the attack 
upon the religion of the nation, were in reality, he argued, an 
attack upon the King. To discuss these matters was the truest 
service to the King, and the whole complicated subject should 
be referred, in its several divisions, to the committees of the 
House. 1 

Rudyerd followed, in his feeble way, trying to reconcile 

things that could not be reconciled. The danger of the kingdom 

was great : the danger of offending the King was also 

Rudyerd , . , 

preaches great. It was the crisis of Parliaments, by which men 
would know whether parliaments would live or die 
"Men and brethren," he said in his distraction, "what shall 
we do ? Is there no balm in Gilead ? " On the whole, he 
thought the best thing would be to vote a large sum of money, 
and then to ask the King to set everything straight that had 
gone wrong. 

1 Forster, Sir y. Eliot, ii. 8. Mr. Forster has given an abstract of the 
part of his speech which referred to Laud and the clergy. It is a pity that 
he did not give Eliot's own words. 


Rudyerd was succeeded by a speaker of a different order. 

The business of Parliament, said Wentworth, was to produce 

union between the King and his people. Both had 

W.entworth's , . . . . ., _ , * 

view of the been injured by past evils. Both were interested in 
finding a remedy for those evils. " The illegal ways," 
he exclaimed, " are punishments and marks of indignation. The 
raising of loans strengthened by commissions with unheard-of 
instructions and oaths, the billeting of soldiers by the lieutenants 
and deputy-lieutenants, have been as though they could have 
persuaded Christian princes, nay worlds, that the right of empire 
had been to take away by strong hand, and they have endea- 
voured, as far as was possible for them, to do it. This hath 
not been done by the King, under the pleasing shade of whose 
crown I hope we shall rather gather the fruits of justice, but by 
projectors. They have extended the prerogative of the King 
beyond its just symmetry, which makes the sweet harmony of 
the whole. They have rent from us the light of our eyes, 
inforced a company of guests worse than the ordinances of 
France, vitiated our wives and daughters before our faces, 
brought the Crown to greater want than ever it was by antici- 
pating the revenue. And can the shepherd be thus smitten 
and the flock not be scattered ? They have introduced a privy 
council, 1 ravishing at once the spheres of all ancient govern- 
ment, 2 imprisoning us without banks or bounds. 3 They have 
taken from us What shall I say? Indeed, what have they 
left us? They have taken from us all means of supplying the 
King and ingratiating ourselves with him by tearing up the 
roots of all property ; which, if they be not seasonably set into 
the ground by his Majesty's hand, we shall have, instead of 

1 A reference to the secret councils of Buckingham and his friends. 

" Mr. Nutt, of Rugby, has pointed out to me that this phrase is founded 
on one in Bacon's Essay on Superstition. " Superstition hath been the 
confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new primum mobile, that 
ravisheth all the spheres of government." Compare also in the Essay on 
Counsel: "For which inconveniences, the doctrine of Italy, and the prac- 
tice of France in some kings' times, hath introduced cabinet councils ; a 
remedy worse than the disease." 

1 This is the reading of some MS. authorities. The ordinary ' bail and 
bond ' is probably the corruption of a prosaic copyist. 


beauty, baldness. To the making of all these whole I shall 
apply myself, and propound a. remedy to all these diseases. By 
one and the same thing hath the King and people been hurt, 
and by the same must they be cured. 1 To vindicate what ? 
New things? No. Our ancient, sober and vital liberties, by 
reinforcing of the ancient laws of our ancestors ; by setting such 
a stamp upon them as no licentious spirit shall dare hereafter 
to enter upon them. And shall we think this a way to break a 
Parliament. No, our desires are modest and just. I speak 
truly, both for the interest of the King and people. If we enjoy 
not these, it will be impossible to relieve him." 

Wentworth and Eliot were heartily at one in denouncing 
the evils of the times ; but the difference between the modes 
Comparison m which the two men regarded the grievances of the 
Wentworth nat i n was ominous of coming division between them, 
and Eliot. Wentworth had nothing to say about religion, nothing 
to say about the large constitutional groundwork on which 
Eliot founded his conclusions. Both were loyal to King and 
Parliament alike ; but, whilst Eliot was thinking chiefly of 
Parliament as the mirror of the national will and the guardian 
of ancient law, Wentworth was thinking chiefly how the King's 
government was to be carried on. With him the practical 
mischief was of more importance than all theoretical considera- 
tions, as throwing obstructions in the way of the true work of 
government, as well as inflicting the most exasperating injuries 
upon the people. Different as were the points of view from 
which the events of the past year were regarded by the two 
men, the remedies which they proposed were no less different. 
Eliot would have had the whole state of the nation discussed 
in committee ; Wentworth, having very little confidence in 
committees, and very great confidence in himself, stepped 
Wentworth's forward to offer his own guidance to the House. 
remedies. There must, he said in conclusion, be no more illegal 
imprisonment, no more compulsory employments abroad, no 
forced loans, no billeting of soldiers without the assent of the 

1 There seems to he something omitted here, but I have been unable to 
recover it. 


In a few short words Wentworth had laid the foundation 
of the great statute which afterwards assumed the form of the 
Petition of Right. A condemnation of martial law was after- 
wards added. If Coke was finally to give to the Petition its 
form, Wentworth was the originator of its substance. 

The debate still rolled on for some little time. Phelips did 
his best to reinforce Eliot's argument by protesting against the 
sermons of Sibthorpe and Manwaring. 1 Coke, on 
Pheiipslnd the other hand, seems to have been unwilling to go 
as far as Wentworth. He was not able, he said, in 
allusion to the words of Phelips, ' to fly at all grievances, but 
only at loans.' He recommended that subsidies should at once 
be granted, but that a statement of the illegality of the late 
loan should be inserted in the preamble of the Bill. In reply 
Secretary Coke made an admission most damaging to the King. 
He could not deny, he said in pressing for an immediate 
supply, that the law had been broken, but he could say that it 
had been broken under necessity. It would not be very long 
before Sir John's acknowledgment that the law had been broken 
would be thrown in his teeth as a complete abandonment of 
the case set up by the King. 

In the end Sir Henry Mildmay suggested that nothing 
should be done hastily. The King should have time given 
him to consider what had been said. 

Charles's wisest course would evidently have been to close 

promptly with Wentworth. He did not understand that Went- 

March2 4 . worth's demand was the measure of the House's 

The King's determination. As in 1625 he had agreed to per- 

reception ot 

the demands, secute the Catholics in order to persuade the Com- 
mons to give him money to send out the fleet to Cadiz, so 
he would do now. Eliot and Phelips should learn that 
against the Catholics at least they had the King upon their 

1 Phelips's speech is curious as enouncing, in opposition to Manwaring, 
a doctrine which afterwards became famous. "It is well known," he 
said, "the people of this state are under no other subjection than what 
they did voluntarily assent unto by their original contract between king and 


A fev days before the meeting of Parliament a discovery 
had been made, that a house at Clerkenwell, belonging to the 
The Tesuit ^ sl ^ ^ Shrewsbury, was being used by a small party 
at cierken- of Jesuits as a place of meeting. The Jesuits were 
at once arrested and their goods and papers seized. 
As there was nothing treasonable in the papers, some clever 
scoundrel thought fit to forge a letter from one of the com- 
munity, in which it was told how the Jesuits had a plot on 
hand for keeping alive the quarrel between Buckingham and the 
House of Commons, and the forged letter was widely circu- 
lated. 1 Buckingham, when he saw it, was highly offended, as 
the unskilful forger had allowed expressions about Dulbier's 
horse to slip in which might be more damaging to him than to 
the Jesuits. 

Neither Buckingham nor Charles, however, cared to protect 
the Catholics, 2 and they may very likely have instructed the 

1 The whole story was told by Mr. J. G. Nichols in the Camden Mis- 
cellany, vols. ii. and iv. Sir J. Maynard seems to have had something to 
do with the forgery, if he was not himself the forger. Mr. Nichols printed 
at the same time a curious letter from the Council to Falkland, which he 
held to be a forgery also. But the grounds he alleged were manifestly 
insufficient. He argued, in the first place, that the letter had an impossib e 
date. This would be worth attending to if we had the original. But the 
hasty copy which is all we have may easily have substituted the 2nd for the 
22nd of March. Mr. Nichols's second argument is that the letter is signet! 
by Suffolk, Salisbury, Morton, and Durham. The latter, he said, if meant 
for the Bishop of Durham, would scarcely have come last. But surely 
earls would come before bishops. "Morton," too, he argued, "is a 
name not familiar to the history of the period." He was, however, a Privy 
Councillor, being the Scotch earl who commanded the reinforcement 
which was to have joined Buckingham at Rhe. The letter is very charac- 
teristic of Buckingham's off-hand way of treating serious matters. I in- 
cline to think it genuine. I may add that the List letter I ever wrote to 
Mr. Nichols was to call his attention to these points, being unaware at th*; 
time of his illness. Those who had the good fortune to know him will lie 
sure that, if he had been convinced by its arguments, he would have 
accepted the correction with pleasure. Truth was the one thing which he 
cared for in his investigations. 

" The Northern Commission, of which the Earl of Sunderland was the 
nominal chief and Sir J. Savile, the acting head, was, I fancy, intended 


Secretary to make the most of the affair of the Jesuits at Clerken- 
sir j. Coke we ll j but Sir John had not the light hand which was 
fri|hten the n eeded to deal with the discovery so as to make a 
House. good impression. On the 24th, after promising that 
if the House would take the question of supply into imme- 
diate consideration, his Majesty would then be ready to redress all 
grievances, he proceeded to unfold his tale. " You little think," 
he said, " there was another pretended parliament of Jesuits, 
and other well-willers to that party, within a mile of this place/' 
The House was not to be frightened with this bugbear. Not 
one of the speakers who followed even referred to the terrible 
Grievances P ortent - There was much sharp speaking about the 
to precede Arminian divines, and the House gave it to be under- 


stood that it meant to discuss its grievances before 
doing anything about supply. 1 

This was a bitter pill for Charles. Denbigh's mournful let- 
ters were pouring in day by day, to plead for the necessities of 
March 25. his charge. The council of war, too, had just sent in 
^ e t " e S Q"! s an estimate of little less than 6oo,ocoZ. for the mili- 
vemment. { ar y an( j nava i service of the coming year, besides an 
immediate demand for nearly 700, ooo/!. for repairs and munitions 
of war. 2 Charles was thus in much the same difficulty as he 
had been in 1625. If he asked for all that he wanted, he would 
get a refusal. If he asked for less, the service would be starved. 
The course adopted was to lay before the House the heads of 
expenditure, without any mention of the sums required for 

On points of form the Commons were not willing to contend 
with the King. At the urgent entreaty of Secretary Coke, they 


simply to get money. By taking less than the Itgal fines directly from the 
recusants, a whole set of informers would be discountenanced, and more 
money come actually to the Crown. See the Commission, June 23, 1627 ; 
Patent Rolls, 3 Charles L, Part 35, No. 7. The affair, however, seems to 
have been mismanaged. 

1 ffarl. MSS. 4771, fol. 24. 

2 Estimate, March 22, S. P. Dom. xcviii. i. It is one of the few im- 
portant errors in Mr. Bruce's Calendar, that he overlooked the first of these 
demands, and so under-estimated the whole sum reqvired. 


resolved that the . Grand Committee which was to discuss 
On Charles's grievances should also discuss supply. It soon ap- 
co^mfuee 6 peared that Charles had gained but little. As soon as 
ordered to the House had gone into committee, speaker after 


bothgriev- speaker announced his full belief that their property 

ances and ... , 111-1 /- i 

supply. m their goods and the liberty of their persons must be 
placed beyond dispute before it would be fit to mention supply. 
Debate in Phelips, with his usual proneness to seize upon ques- 
on"the" ee tions which were not yet ripe for solution, even asked 
subct. of the wnat was tl ie use f ascertaining the law if the judges 
could expound it as they pleased. 

It was but the natural result of Charles's system of govern- 
ment that he was as ill-served in the House of Commons as 
he was everywhere else. To Eliot and Wentworth 

The King . , 

almost with- and Phelips he had nobody to oppose but Secretary 
n U th S e PP< Coke. May and Edmondes contented themselves 
Commons. with g enera i exhortations to concord ; and Weston, 
who, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had no love for the war 
expenditure for which he was expected to provide, sat silent by 
their side. To the great lawyers of the Opposition, with Coke 
and Selden at their head, there was no one to reply except the 
Solicitor-General, and Shilton was an example how easily in- 
competency could float to the surface when buoyed up by Royal 
favour. When he rose it was only to say that he had. not 
been present when the case of the habeas corpus was argued in 
the King's Bench, but that if they would give him time to 
consult Heath, he would see what Heath had to say about the 

Shilton's verbal admission of his own incompetence brought 
up Sir Edward Coke. The old lawyer contemptuously replied 
Coke's state- that he too would be glad to know what the Attorney- 
iw" to General had to say. In the meanwhile, he had 
something worth his consideration to tell him. Whenever the 
old law-books spoke of the King's imprisoning a man, they 
meant that the King's command was signified through his 
judges. " The King," said Coke, " can arrest no man, because 
there is no remedy against him." He then produced a pre- 
cedent from the reign of Edward III., according to which a 


committal without cause named had been deemed insufficient 
by the judges. Scripture too was on his side. Had not Festus 
said to Agrippa, "It seemeth to me unreasonable to send a 
prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid to his 
charge? " Coke ended by saying that he had given the Attor- 
ney-General a preparative, but he had more physic in store 
for him. 

Coke's argument was another warning to Charles to close 
with Wentworth quickly. If Eliot would have placed the 
direction of affairs in the hands of the House of Commons, 
Coke would have placed the final decision in the hands of the 
judges. The question asked by Phelips earlier in the day had 
to be answered in favour of the judges before they could be 
considered competent to the task assigned them. 

As Charles made no sign, the Commons stepped boldly 

forward. They refused even to consider the Secretary's heads 

of expenditure for the present, and they passed a resolution con- 

, demnatory of taxation without a Parliamentary grant. 

Resolution The question of imprisonment was not so easily 

settled. There was something to be said on the side 

of the King. In ordinary times it might be all very well that 

the King should not imprison without showing cause, 

and that the judges should be called upon at once 

to decide whether the accused person should be admitted to 

bail or kept in prison. Would not this, however, be dangerous 

in extraordinary times? In the last two reigns there had been 

grave conspiracies affecting the well-being of the whole nation. 

There had been plots to assassinate Elizabeth, and more recently 

a plot to blow up King, Lords, and Commons with gunpowder. 

Nethersoie's " * w ^ P ut m ^ case >" sa ^ Nethersole, in evident al- 
argument. lusion to the position of Northumberland in connexion 
with the Gunpowder Plot : " there is amongst us a great party 
of Jesuits and priests, and the scholars of Jesuits are about to 
question the King's title to the crown ; and suppose some 
friends of some one great man and allied to the Crown, do 
conspire against the King and Crown. Now, to keep that great 
man out of danger, they never acquaint him with the plot 
Will not all men confess that a warrant in this case is both law- 



ful and necessary to secure this great man ? And what reason 
of his imprisonment can be added ? " 

In the course of the debates which followed, this argument 
was put again and again in every possible form. It is childish 
Estimate of to ig nore i ts weight. The conclusion to which it 
its force. points has been embodied in that unwritten con- 
stitution under which Englishmen are content to live. In 
ordinary times the rule which Coke advocated suffices ; but 
when any extraordinary commotion makes itself felt in the 
depths of society, when some great conspiracy is on foot, the 
ministry of the day comes to Parliament for a suspension of 
the Habeas Corpus Act, and arbitrary committals find no 

There are occasions on which the historian has to ac- 
knowledge that no complete solution of existing difficulties was 
possible at the time. Practically the great evil 01 
scfutio^'th'en the day was that Charles was not fit to be entrusted 
with powers which had been wielded by former 
sovereigns. He had acted as if there had been an emergency, 
when, if there was an emergency at all, it was one of his own 
creation. Even if the leaders of the Commons had looked 
fairly into Nethersole : s argument, all that they could have said 
was that, by some possible re-arrangement of the constitution, 
by some form of government hitherto untried, that which he 
asked for might beneficially be granted. Sufficient for the day 
was the evil thereof. The Commons had come to consider 
that it was more important for them to bind the King's hands 
than to arm them against conspiracies which, in their time at 
least, had no existence except in the fertile imagination of 
Secretary Coke. 

The legal aspect of the question was by this time coming 
to the front. It was in vain for Eliot to appeal to the high 
The legal position of Parliament as the interpreter of the 
question. national conscience, in vain for Wentworth to lay the 
foundations of a new settlement in an intelligent perception of 
.the requirements of the State, if Charles refused to take account 
.of their just demands. It remained for the great legal authorities 
i)f the Commons to lay down the law as it stood, to trace out 


the long tradition of legality which in the coune of ages had 
raised a barrier against arbitrary power. 

That the barrier thus raised had not always been firmly 
maintained it is impossible to deny. Precedents were not 
always consistent, and the weak side of the legal argument was 
that it attempted to reduce the fluctuations of social forces 
to a uniform system, and to account for the constitution of 
England in the Middle Ages without mentioning those revolu- 
tionary disturbances which had supplemented the decisions of 
the judges. 

In the Commons Coke had no adversary worthy of his 

steel. Yet even Shilton contrived to embarrass him for the 

moment by producing a resolution of the King's 

March 29. ' 

Coke and Bench in 1615, in which Coke himself expressed 
approval of the doctrine that when the Council sent 
a man to prison the cause of the imprisonment need not be 
disclosed. At the same time Shilton quoted the opinion of 
Chief Justice Anderson, to which Heath had referred triumph- 
antly in Westminster Hall. 

Even Coke was for once disconcerted by the attack. The 
report, he said, was not yet twenty-one years old. Then floun- 
dering still more deeply in the mire, and forgetting dates and 
everything else in his confusion, he began talking wildly of the 
necessity of dealing strictly at that time with the traitors con- 
cerned in the Gunpowder Plot, as if, in 1615, every one of them 
who had fallen into the hands of the Government had not been 
executed nine years before. 

It was a fine opportunity for Shilton. " What ! " he might 
have said, " do you really hold that in times such as that of the 
Gunpowder Plot, the strict law for which you are pleading can- 
not be executed ? " Shilton, however, was no debater, and sat 
silent. Wentworth came to Coke's rescue with a few sarcastic 
words. " Mr. Solicitor," he said, " hath done that which belongs 
to his place, but not so ingeniously as he might." l 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, 45 b. The word is "ingeniously," which in 
those days bore the signification of "ingenuously" as well as that of 
"ingeniously." Probably Wentworth meant to reflect on Shilton's want 
of skill. The ffarl. MS. gives the only satisfactory account of the affair. 

K 2 


Two days later Coke was himself again. He had the righr, 
he said, of changing his opinion when his knowledge was in- 
creased. Since he signed the resolution referred 

March 31. 

Coke's jus- to, he had seen members of Parliament imprisoned. 
He had himself only just escaped imprisonment. 
He had gone to his law-books, and there he had found that 
the boasted resolution of Anderson and the judges of his day 
was apocrvphal. Anderson's words were very different from 
those which had been cited in Court. 

Coke had risen above the weakness which led him to claim 
infallibility in matters of law. " I cannot think of flattery," 
said Eliot, " but we may here thank him now whom posterity 
will hereafter commend." * Eliot, in fact, had a great part in 
the old lawyer's triumph. A report of Anderson's resolution in 
his own handwriting had been treasured up as a precious pos- 
session by his heirs. They now sought out Eliot and placed 
the manuscript in his hands. On the morning of April i 
Eliot laid it before a Committee of the House. If 

April I. 

Anderson's it was not by any means so explicit as the popular 
piodlTcTd. lawyers would have drawn it, it was more in their 
favour than the note which had been cited by Heath. 2 Coke 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 46 b. Coke's speech has a wrong date in 
State Trials, iii. 82. 

2 "And where it pleased your Lordships to will divers of us to set 
down in what cases a person sent to custody by her Majesty, her Council 
[or] some one or two of them, are to be detained in prison and not delivered 
by her Majesty's Courts or Judges, we think that if any person be committed 
by her Majesty's commandment from her person, or by order from the 
Council Board, or if any one or two of her Council commit one for high 
treason, such persons, so in the case before committed, may not be de- 
livered by any of her Courts without due trial by the law and judgment of 
acquittal had. Nevertheless the Judges may award the Queen's writ to 
bring the bodies of such prisoners before them ; and if upon return thereof 
the causes of their commitment be certified to the Judges, as it ought to be, 
then the Judges in the cases before ought not to deliver him, but to remand 
him to the place from whence he came, which cannot be conveniently done 
unless notice of the cause in generality or else specially be given to the 
keeper or gaoler that shall have the custody of such prisoner." Anderson' i 
Reports, i. 298. Upon this, Hallam (i. 387), observes : " For though this 
is not grammatically worded, it seems impossible to doubt that it acknow- 

1628 COKE'S' TRIUMPH 245 

interpreted the words entirely as he wished them to be in- 
terpreted. The old man was more than triumphant. " Of my 
own knowledge," he said, "this book was written with my Lord 
Anderson's own hand. It is no flying report of a young student. 
I was Solicitor then, and Treasurer Burghley was as much 
against commitment as any of this kingdom. . . . Let us draw 
towards a conclusion. The question is, Whether a freeman 
can be imprisoned by the King without setting down the 
cause? I leave it as bare as ^sop's crow, they that argue 
against it." * 

Coke's appeal to Anderson's opinion swept everything 

before it. In three resolutions the Committee unanimously 

resolved that no freeman might be committed without 

Resolutions . 

on imprison- cause shown ; that every one, however committed^ 
had a right to a writ of habeas corpus ; and that, if no 
legal cause of imprisonment appeared, he was to be delivered 
or bailed. 

These three resolutions on imprisonment, together with the 
resolution on taxation, constituted the main part of the case of 
the Commons with regard to the liberty of the subject. The 

ledges the special command of the King, or the authority of the Privy 
Council as a body, to be such sufficient warrant for a commitment as to 
require no further cause to be expressed, and to prevent the Judges from 
discharging the party from custody either absolutely or upon bail." The 
consequence, he goes on to say, would be to render every statute by which 
the liberties of Englishmen were protected, a dead letter. The effect of 
Anderson's report depends on whether he meant ' the cause in generality ' 
to apply merely to the order of the Queen or Privy Council, or to some 
general statement of the offence committed. In any case, however, 
Anderson seems to have had in view a trial before the King's Bench as the 
proper result, and to have been thinking rather of saying that bail ought to 
be refused to persons so committed, till the time for trial came on, than of 
the further question whether they could be kept back entirely or for any 
long time from the jurisdiction of the Court. Anderson's assertion that the 
cause of commitment ought to be certified, would be the part of the report 
on which the Commons would probably lay stress. 

1 There is some difficulty about this speech (Stale Trials, iii. 76). 
Part of it, Humores tnoti, &c., occurs in a speech of the 29th, and the rest 
is not mentioned by Nicholas or in the copy in the Ilarleian MSS. But 
it can hardly have been spoken except on the production of Anderson's 
origin*! MS. 


day before, the King had accorded a gracious reception to the 
joint petition of the two Houses for the strict execution of the 
A rfl 2 Recusancy laws. 1 On April 2 the Commons took into 
Debate on consideration the heads of expenditure presented on 
behalf of the King. The general opinion was that pro- 
vision should be made for the defence of the kingdom, but that 
no encouragement should be given to Charles to launch out into 
another of those great expeditions which had hitherto ended 
in such disastrous failure. Sir John Coke indeed argued that 
attack was often the best defence. It might be so, retorted 
Eliot's ob- Eliot, but attacks conducted after the fashion of the 
jectbns. i ate attem p ts U p 0n Cadiz and Rlie" could defend 
nobody. " Consider," he said, " in what case we are, if on 
the like occasion, or with the like instruments, we shall again 
adventure another expedition. It was ever the wisdom of our 
ancestors here to leave foreign wars wholly to the State, and 
not to meddle with them. There may be some necessity for a 
war offensive, but, looking on our late disasters, I tremble to 
Course re- think of sending more abroad." 2 Wentworth took 
by"went d - ed a course of his own. He would have nothing to say 
worth - to Eliot's investigations into the past. " I will not 
/all," he said, u into the deep of foreign actions, but address 
myself to particulars. I cannot forget the duty I owe to my 
country, and unless we be secured in our liberties we can- 
not give." Wentworth recommended that there should be no 
attempt to enter upon the heads of expenditure. He also re* 
commended that a bountiful supply should be given ; but he 
reminded the committee that the list of grievances was not yet 
exhausted, and that there was no security that, if money were 
voted, their grievances would be redressed. He therefore 
moved and carried the adjournment of the debate to the 4th. 
He held, in fact, that the House should not make itself respon- 
sible for the mode in which the money voted would be spent. 
He did not care enough for the war to think it worth while to 
inquire whether Rochelle was likely to be lost or saved ; but he 
did care for the settlement of those domestic difficulties which 

1 I J arl. Hist. ii. 248. - Forster, Sir J. Eliot, ii. 22. 


made all healthy government impossible, and though he was 
not likely to abet any movement which would have placed the 
House of Commons in direct opposition to the Crown, he was 
quite ready to use the refusal of subsidies as a lever to obtain 
that which he regarded as advantageous to the Crown and the 
Commons alike. 

As the result of the adjournment the committee betook 
itself to supplement its previous resolutions. The practice of 
Resolution confining a person obnoxious to the Court to his own 
on confine- house, or to the house of any other private person, 
which had been recently practised in the cases of 
Bristol and the refusers of the loan, was voted to be illegal. 
Billeting The warmest discussion, however, arose on the bil- 
soidiers. leting of soldiers and the malpractices connected 
with it. Eliot related, with striking effect, a circumstance of 
which he was cognisant. The house of a gentleman near 
Plymouth, he said, had been attacked by a band of soldiers, 
and its owner forced to fly from their fury. A few days after- 
wards he was recognised in Plymouth by the same soldiers, and 
assaulted by them. He complained to the Mayor, and was by 
him referred to the Commissioners appointed for the govern- 
ment of the troops. Not only did the Commissioners give 
him no redress, but they sent him and his servant to prison. 
" Little difference I see," said Eliot, " between these and the 
old Roman soldiers. Can this people give supply that are not 
masters of themselves ? " 

Complaint waxed louder and louder. " If we go on in 
particular," said Uigges, " we shall never come to an end. It 
is too common for the commanders to deny all justice." 
Phelips said that the deputy lieutenants had no right to make 
rates for the maintenance of the soldiers. Yet there was some- 
thing in the defence of Sir Edward Rodney, himself a deputy 
lieutenant. The soldiers, he said, came with empty stomachs 
and with arms in their hands. If the King's orders had not 
been obeyed, the men would have seized by force all that they 
wanted. It had always been the custom to levy money for the 
support of soldiers on the understanding that it would be repaid 
from the Exchequer. If the men had been billeted in private 


houses it was because no money had come down from the 
King to support them in inns. 1 

No money had come down. That was the gist of the whole 

grievance. And why had no money come down ? Because, 

. the King would say. the Commons, in neglect of 

Question of . - " ' 

authority their duty, had refused to vote it. The Commons 

opened up. ,,,,. , , T ^ , , , . 

held that it was because the King had engaged in an 
expenditure of which they were in the right in disapproving. 
Do what they would, the deep question of sovereignty of the 
right of saying the last word when differences arose was for 
ever cropping up. 

The next morning a message was delivered from the King 
by Secretary Coke. His Majesty, he said, had heard that there 

were rumours that he was angry with what the House 

Satisfaction IT, 11 T-.I-I 

expressed by had been doing, and that Buckingham had spoken 
' ing ' malicious words against the Parliament. He assured 
them that this was not the case. Sir John added that the 
King wished them to vote him a supply the next day, without 
any condition. He would then assure them that he had no in- 
tention of intrenching upon their liberties. Charles, in short, 
could not see that their liberties were at all in danger. " For 
God's sake," he had said, " why should any hinder them of their 
liberties ? If they did, I should think they dealt not faithfully 
with me." 

There is no reason to accuse Charles of hypocrisy in these 

words. He did not yet fully understand where the struggle 

really lay. He had regarded the loan as an irregular 

What did J ,. 3 , 

Charles expedient, forced upon him by the course taken by 
the Commons in the first two Parliaments of his 
reign, much as the King of Prussia regarded the unparliamen- 
tary budget arranged by himself before the campaign of 1866. 
Now that the Commons appeared likely to resume their proper 
functions, there would be no need for him to revert to such 
unusual proceedings. They would vote him the supplies 
which he needed, and he would assure them that he would 
not again put in force the extraordinary powers of which they 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 51-57 b. Nicholas's Notes. 


complained ; but which he firmly believed to be part of the in- 
heritance of the Crown, of which he was resolved not to divest 

In the course of the day the four resolutions on imprison- 
ment and taxation were formally reported to the House. The 
debate on forced employment on foreign service took 

Question of , J . 

pressing men an unexpected turn when Selden called in question 

for the army. .1 . r r -T. i 

the existing system of pressing men for military and 
naval service which had grown up since the commencement of 
the Tudor reigns. Even Phelips was startled by the prospect 
which had been opened by Selden. Without compulsory 
service, he asked, how was an army to be maintained ? Went- 
worth gave expression to the same doubt If Selden was right, 
and the King had no power to press, the sooner the power was 
given to him the better. The only point to be considered was 
how such a power could be moderately exercised. On Went- 
worth's motion a committee was appointed to consider the 
question. 1 

The position thus taken up by Wentworth is significant. 
Above the question of Royal or Parliamentary authority, above 
wentworth's tne question of law and precedent, he kept ever 
position. steadily before him the necessity of an intelligent 
perception of the wants of the country. Parliaments might be 
merely the reflection of the interests and passions of an ignorant 
nation. Lawyers might appeal to the dry records of a dead 
past which could give no rule to the living present ; but in- 
telligence could not fail. The strength and the weakness of 
Wentworth lay in this doctrine, so true when intelligence takes 
account of the elements of passion and prejudice, zeal or 
sluggishness in the nation, so false when it deals with a people 
as mere brute matter, to be handled and directed as the man 
of wisdom thinks best. 2 

Wentworth's motion had at all events, by taking up the 
time of the House, made the completion of the list of grievances 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 57 b; 2313, fol. 28. 

2 The modern idea of statesmanship, in fact, looks upon government as 
a naKvrtK^i TX"). But the Socrates of politics was yet in the future in 
Wentworth's days. 


impossible for the present. The next morning had been 
A ri[ fixed for the debate on supply. It was accordingly 
Separationof resolved to suspend the consideration of the mili- 
mii'itary" 1 tary grievances for the present, and to lay the four 
grievances. reso i ut i ons on taxation and imprisonment before 
the Lords. 

Before the House went into Committee of Supply, a fresh 
message from the King came to give assurance that they should 
Debate on enjoy their liberties under him as fully as under the 
supply. 1-^ o f thei,- former kings. Though the House was 
in a liberal mood, there were many to whom the heads of ex- 
penditure seemed excessive, many too in whose minds they 
awakened memories of disaster and defeat. Wentworth recom- 
mended that the heads of expenditure should be quietly shelved. 
The House should grant a large supply, and ask no questions 
how it was to be employed. The recommendation had a 
marked success. -Eliot said that he had intended to say some- 
thing about the heads of expenditure, but that he had no wish to 
interpose any further delay. Wentworth's motion was carried, 
and the House was thus relieved from all responsibility for the 
prosecution of the war. What was given wonld be a free gift, 
binding no one for the future. 

Then followed a discussion on the number of subsidies to 
be granted. Some said five, others less. Eliot, frightened at 
Five sub- tne excessive liberality of the House, moved the ad- 
sidies voted, journment of the debate. Wentworth supported the 
largest grant suggested, and he had the House with him. Eliot 
protested in vain that so much could not be raised without the 
aid of military force ; but he did not venture to appeal to a 
division, and five subsidies were unanimously voted. 

The leadership of the Commons was clearly in Wentworth's 
Wentworth's hands. He represented the desire of the majority 
leadership. o f the members to carry conciliation to the utmost 
possible limits ; but he also represented their desire to have a 
full and effective remedy for their grievances. As 
not'to"^ soon as the motion for the subsidies was carried, 
report* . ^ e p rO p Osec j that no report of the vote should be 
made to the House. What had been done, he said, was done 


conditionally on the King's agreement to settle the fundamental 
liberties of the subject. The proposal thus made was practically 
if not formally adopted. 1 No report was made, and there .was 
thus no official record that the subsidies had ever been voted 
at all. It would be impossible for Charles, if matters went ill, 
to levy the subsidies as he had attempted to do in 1626, on the 
ground that they had been offered by the House. 

Charles's hopeful picture of an immediate grant of supply, 
followed by a vague declaration of his own intention to maintain 
the liberties of his subjects, was therefore not to be realised. 
Though Wentworth had no wish to reduce the Royal authority 
to a shadow, it was by his hand that the cup had been dashed 
from the King's lips. He had been one of the committee 
which had unanimously recommended that the four resolutions 
should be laid before the House of Lords. 2 He may have 
thought that such a course was unavoidable under the cir- 
cumstances, or he may have been unwilling to lose 

Wentworth . } 

proposes a his influence by openly differing from the great lawyers 

Hill on the / i T-I n 111 

liberties of of the House. At all events he had something more 
definite to propose. " He would," he said, " have the 
Grand Committee appoint a sub-committee to draw into a law 
what may assure us of our liberty of our persons and property 
of our goods before we report the resolution of our gift." 

Here then, at last, was Wentworth's scheme. Not a humble 
petition to the King, not a legal argument to accompany the 
four resolutions when they were laid before the Peers, but a 
law to provide for the future, was his solution of the difficulty. 
Whatever might come of the argument before the Upper House, 
it would be certain to offend the King. He would have to be 

1 There is a discrepancy in the authorities. The Harleian MS. 4771 
(60 b-&3 b) ends with an order for a report. Nicholas gives the further 
speech noticed above, and then says, " the Speaker goeth unto the chair 
and the House riseth." Another Harleian MS. (4313, fol. 34 b) gives the 
order for the report with Wentworth's speech following. As no report 
appears to have been made, there can be no doubt that the order was 
dropped on Wentworth's intervention, though it may not have been for- 
mally rescinded. 

* Common? Journals, i. 879 


told that he had been utterly in the wrong, and that he had 
broken a whole series of laws, from Magna Carta downwards. 
It might indeed prove that Charles was not to be conciliated, 
and then it might be necessary to go through all this. Went- 
worth may well have thought that there was a better way. If 
once it became statute law that the King might not levy loans 
without the consent of Parliament, and that he might not 
imprison men without allowing them to seek their trial in open 
court, all the learning in the world about the constitution of 
England in the Middle Ages would be no more than an anti- 
quarian investigation, more interesting to Englishmen but not 
more practically important than an inquiry into the laws of 
Solon or the procedure of the Roman praetors. 

A Bill, moreover, would have the advantage in Wentworth's 
yes of being capable of limitation. Nethersole's argument was 
not likely to pass unheeded by Wentworth, and he was sure to 
regard with special favour a mode of procedure by which it 
would be possible to consider not merely what the law was, but 
what the law ought to be. 

For the present, however, the lawyers had it all their own 
way. A day was fixed for their argument before the Lords. 
A rfl Even Charles was in high good humour. Either 
The King he did not yet see how far the claims of the Lower 
the subsi- House would reach, or he confided in the firmness 
of the Peers to reject anything which in his eyes was 
clearly unreasonable. The five subsidies had surpassed his 
expectations. " By how many voices was it carried ? " he asked 
Secretary Coke, who brought the welcome news. Sir John 
could afford to jest, and replied, " By one." Then, having 
frightened (he King for a moment, he explained that the 
Commons had voted with one voice and one assent 

All this and more Coke garrulously reported to the House ; 
but he had not the tact to be content with singing the praises 
CoVe reports of the King. He added that Buckingham had joined 
HWs'" 8 ' m a hope that the desires of the House would be 
speech. granted. If the spirit which had animated the last 
Parliament was asleep it was not dead. Eliot sprang to his 
feet and protested against the mediation of a subject between 


King and Parliament His words found an echo in the cries 
of "Well spoken, Sir John Eliot ! " which arose on every side. 1 
That day brought knowledge to the King that more was 
meant by the Commons than he had hitherto supposed. Coke. 
.Selden, and Littleton laid the resolutions of the 
tio.n oefore House before the Peers. Much new light had been 
thrown on the subject since the proceedings in the 
King's Bench, and the lawyers of the Commons made a strong 
case in behalf of the absolute illegality of committals without 
cause shown. The next day Heath commenced his argument 
on the other side, contending that the King had never relin- 
quished the right of interfering with the ordinary jurisdiction of 
the Courts when the necessity of the State so required. 

Charles was beginning to open his eyes to the magnitude of 
the issues at stake* It was something more than a mere ques- 
tion of the legality of this or that action, It was 

Charles sees 3 * 

the extent of sovereiguty itself, the right of deciding in the last 

the conces- : . . . j 

sionsre- resort, which he was required to abandon. He was 
ready to promise that no more loans or taxes should 
be levied without the consent of Parliament ; and that in all 
ordinary imprisonments he would leave the decisions to the 
judges ; but he was not ready to promise that, in questions in 
which the fortunes of the whole realm were interested, he would 
stand aside and descend from the high position which his 
predecessors had occupied with general consent. 

Nor was it on the question of imprisonment alone that the 
Commons were pressing upon him. Whilst the argument was 
A .. proceeding before the Lords, the Lower House had 
Billeting again taken up the grievance of billeting. " In my 
county," said Sir Walter Erie, speaking of Dorsetshire, 
"under colour of placing a soldier, 'there came twenty in a 
troop to take sheep. They disturb markets and fairs, rob men 
on the highway, ravish women, breaking houses in the night 
and enforcing men to ransom themselves, killing men that have 
assisted constables to keep the peace." Other members had 
tales equally bad to tell. Sir Edward Coke proposed to petition 

1 Pan. Hist. ii. 274. Meade to Stuteville, April 12, Court and Ti IMS 
\ 336. 


the King against the abuse. Wentworth, true to his principles, 
suggested that a Bill should be drawn up to regulate the mode 
of quartering soldiers for the future. Soldiers must live, and 
Wentworth seems to have thought it useless to attack the evil 
unless provision were made for the necessity which .had caused 
it He proposed a petition to the King, to be followed by a Bill 
in due course of time. Orders were at once given to draw up 
the petition. This time, at least, Wentworth had succeeded in 
keeping the whole subject from the cognisance of the Lords till 
the Bill was in existence. 1 

Charles's hopefulness was beginning to fail. As the require- 
ments of the House became plainer to him, the prospect of 
supply grew more distant Yet money was sadly needed. 
Denbigh had not left Plymouth. The pressed men were still 
deserting daily. The ships laden with corn for Rochelle were 
April ir-. reported to be unfit for sea. 2 April 10 was Thursday 
iSesffor" m Passion week, and the House had already made 
bidden. provision for the Easter recess ; but a message was" 
brought from the King conveying his pleasure that there should 
be no recess. Not even on Good Friday were the Commons 
to have rest The members were ill pleased to be deprived of 
their holiday. Eliot suggested that worse was behind. He 
believed that the King's message had been in the hands of the 
Privy Councillors for two days. Why had it not been delivered 
before, unless it were with the expectation that when many 
members had left town it would be easy to hurry a vote of 
supply through a thin House? He moved that no vote of 
supply should be taken till the House was again full. Though 
his motion was not formally adopted, the House had been put 
upon its guard. 3 

Martial law, not supply, was the subject of that Good Friday's 
debate. Eliot placed the whole subject on the right footing. 

' Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 67-69 b. 

- Denbigh to Buckingham, April 8, S. P. Dom. c. 56. 

* Meade says that the motion was adopted. Meade to Stuteville, April 
19, Court and Times, i. 342. Nethersole (S. P. Dom. ci. 4), who was 
himself a member, says that it was rejected, and this is confirmed by the 
absence of any mention of its adoption in the Harkian MS. 4771, fol. 74- 

1628 MARTIAL LAW. 255 

A paper of instructions had been read, appointing special 

. punishments for military crimes. Mutiny, disregard 
Debate on of orders, and such offences, were to be punished in 
soldiers as they are now punished in every army in the 
world. To all this Eliot raised no objection, but he held that 
when a soldier committed an offence against a civilian, the 
civilian should have his remedy in the ordinary course of law, 
and not be dependent for justice on the good pleasure of the 
officers. Thus stated, the case against the Government involved 
the whole of the relations between the civil and the military 
power. Were soldiers to be subject to the laws, or were they 
to be a law to themselves ? If the latter view was to prevail, 
how long would the laws of England subsist in their presence ? 

The debate was interrupted in the strangest manner. In 
spite of Eliot's warning of the previous day Sir Edward Coke, 1 
of all men in the world, started up to propose that 
posai about the dates for the payment of the subsidies should be 
fixed. In vain Eliot explained that the business 
before the committee was not supply. Secretary Coke rap- 
turously echoed the proposal and it seemed difficult to get rid 
of it decently. At last Wentworth rose. " I must confess," he 
said, with a bitter allusion to the day on which they were sit- 
ting, "I expected within myself this day to hear a sermon." 
As, however, the thing had been said, let the dates be fixed. 
But let them not be reported any more than the grant itself. 
Though even this was too much for some, Coke's untoward 
proposal was eventually disposed of as Wentworth suggested. 

Charles grew impatient, and sent a fresh message reproving 

the Commons for spinning out their time, and ordering them 

A riii2 to vote t ^ ie SUDS 'dies at once. 'Notice,' the 

impatient Secretary explained, was taken ' as if this House 

from" 8 ' pressed not upon the abuses of power, but upon 

power itself.' Sir John was asked to explain what 

he meant by power. The word, he replied, came from his 

Majesty, and to his Majesty alone belonged the explanation. 

Wentworth knew that he was himself the author of the 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 75 b, 78. That it was Sir Edward, and not 
Sir John, seems to be settled by Nethersole's letter just quoted. 


motion against reporting the subsidies which had given such 
offence to the King. He moved for a committee to explain that 
there had been no intentional delay, and a statement to the 
effect that grievances took precedence of supply, was prepared 
for the Speaker to present together with the petition on billeting. 1 

The House was growing accustomed to Wentworth's leader- 
ship. A letter-writer of the day speaks of him as the man ' who 
The Lords hath the greatest sway in this Parliament.' 2 Would 
iowwdsthe h e ^ c a ^ le to f rce his policy on the King as 
^ng- well as on the Commons ? It seemed as if Charles 

would soon receive a powerful ally in the House of Lords. 
The Peers listened to Heath's argument, and arranged that the 
opinion of the judges of the King's Bench should be heard 
Buckingham and his friends pleaded for a decision without 
admitting the Lower House to a further reply. Eliot took 
alarm, and carried a motion for a message begging the Peers 
to decide nothing without hearing the Commons once more.* 

The temper of the courtiers in the Upper House was grow- 
ing warm. " Will you not hang Selden ? " said Suffolk, the 
Suffolk at- son f J arnes ' s Treasurer ; " he hath razed a record, 
tacks Selden. an( j deserves to be hanged." Selden, in his place in 
the Commons, indignantly denied the imputation. Suffolk was 
too cowardly to stand by his words, and denied that he had 
spoken them. The Commons took up the defence of their 
member, but in the midst of more pressing business they were 
unable to bring the accusation home. 4 

On the 1 4th the judges appeared before the Lords. They 
did not bring much help to either party. They said that they 
April 14. had not given a final judgment, and that the prisoners 
rtea^b^he might have applied for a habeas corpus the next day 
Lords. if they had pleased. The Court only meant to take 
further time to consider. 

That afternoon Charles received the explanation of the 
Commons, that they were right in considering grievances before 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 78-81. 

* Nethersole to Elizabeth, April 14, S. P. Dom. ci. 4. 

1 Rhino's Notes. Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. Si. 

4 Staff Trials, iii. 156. 


supply. He replied sharply, that he did not question tneir 
The King right- " But, for God's sake," he said, "do not 
^!h the*" 3 s P en d so much time in that as to hazard the ruin 
Commons. o f your liberties and my prerogative by a foreign 
army." He was as careful of their liberties as they were them- 

Charles spoke under the influence of the disheartening news 

which came to him from Plymouth. He had just sent an order 

to Denbigh to sail at all risks, and he had been told that the 

fleet might put to sea, but that there was no chance of its being 

able to fight its way into Rochelle. 1 All this made 

The Com- to . ' 

mons again no impression on the Commons. They did not 
proce e edwith know what the King understood by the liberties 
supp y. which he said he was ready to maintain, even if they 
had been inclined to trust his unsupported promise. They 
accordingly took no notice of his words, but went quietly on 
with the debate on martial law, as though he had never pressed 
them for money at all. 2 

On April 16 and 17, in consequence of the message from 

the Commons, there was a fresh argument by the lawyers 

before the House of Lords. On the one side it 

April 16. . 

Fresh legal was maintained that the King could in no circum- 

argument ... . . ... . 

before the stances commit without showing cause. On the 
other side it was alleged that, though the King might 
not abuse his power by imprisoning men for ever without allow- 
ing them to appeal to the Courts, he might exercise a discretion 
in keeping back any particular case from the cognisance of the 
judges. 3 

On the existence of this discretionary power the battle was 
to be fought. The bare assertion of a right in the King to 
override the laws would not meet with the support of the 
Upper House. A statement made by Serjeant Ashley in the 
course of his argument for the Crown, to the effect that the 
question was too high to be determined by a legal decision, 
was at once checked by Manchester and disavowed by Heath. 

1 Council Register, April 12. Clarke to Buckingham, April -12, S. P. 
Dom. c. 64. 

* Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. Qt. Lords' Journals, iii. 746. 



Ashley was committed to prison by the Lords till he had 
apologised for his offence. 1 

On the 2ist the great subject was merely approached by 

April 21. the Peers. They resolved that the King and Council 

Debate in nac i power to commit upon just cause. On the 

the Lords. J . 

2 2nd they considered whether it was necessary for 
April 22. t h e cause to be expressed or not ; in other words, 
whether the judges or the King were to decide upon the 
legality of the commitment. 

It was generally believed that the majority would be on the 
King's side. Heath's arguments had told, and the influence 
of the Court was strong. Within the last few days four new 
Peers, Coventry and Weston amongst them, had taken their 
seats. The Commons, in alarm, sent to beg for another con 
ference before the vote was taken. 

The opposition, minority as it was, stood firm. Saye was 
foremost in the combat; and he was warmly supported by 

those who had suffered from Buckingham's domina- 
O f the tion. Williams pronounced strongly for the popular 

interpretation of the law. Abbot was equally decided. 
The first hand held out to the King outside the ranks of the 
Court was that of a man whom he had deeply wronged. 
M j d di e Bristol argued that they were simply discussing the 
poseTby" " limits of the King's legal power. Behind that was 
Bristol. a regal power upon which he could fall back in extra- 
ordinary cases. "As Christ," he said, "upon the Sabbath 
healed, so the prerogative is to be preserved for the preserva- 
tion of the whole." Bristol, in short, proposed that the law 
should be declared according to the demand of the Commons, 
but that an acknowledgment should be made that if a really 
exceptional state of things arose, the King might boldly set 
Rejected by aside the law for the sake of the nation. The Lord 
Coventry. Keeper would have none of such help as this. For 
the Privy Council to coramit without showing cause, he said, 
was only in accordance with the ordinary law. Upon this, 
Buckingham, confident in the support of the majority, moved 

1 Lord's yournals, ii. 759. Elsing's Notes. 


that the debate be closed. The next step would have been to 
reject the Commons' resolutions, but Saye interposed with a 
motion for delay till the judges had been consulted. If this 
were not done, those who were in favour of the resolutions 
would enter their protests. It was thought that, if it had come 
to a division, there would have been fifty-six votes recorded 
The debate m opposition to the Court, against sixty-six in its 
adjourned, favour. Buckingham did not venture to divide in 
the face of so formidable an opposition, and the debate was 
adjourned. 1 

When the discussion was re-opened the next day, Arundel 
declared his concurrence in the general doctrine of the 
Commons ; but he thought that some modifications 
Arundei's might be introduced into the resolutions. At Pem- 
proposaL broke's suggestion a Committee was appointed to 
examine the whole bearings of the question. Before this ex- 
amination Buckingham's majority melted away. It is said that 
when he went down to the House he assured the King that 
the resolutions would be rejected before he came away. For 
ten hours the debate swayed to and fro. The decisive impulse 
came at last from Abbot, who pointed out the ruinous con- 
sequences of a breach witi. the Lower House in the face of 
so many enemies abroad. 2 It was resolved that, 

April 25. * 

The Lord's instead of rejecting the resolutions of the Commons, 
counter-propositions should be drawn up in lieu of 
them. As Harsnet, the Bishop of Norwich, was employed 
to put them into shape, it may be supposed that there was a 
defection on the Episcopal Bench, which, as a rule, was the 
chief support of the Court. The defection, however, was not 
universal. To Laud, at least, Harsnet's desertion seemed a 
base concession to expediency, sinning against the principle 

1 Ehing's Notes. Harl. MSS. 4771, IO2 b. Meade to Stuteville. 
May 3, Court and Times, i. 348. 

* This debate is not reported by Elsing. The account in the text is 
taken from Contarini's despatch of May . He gives no date, but his 
description will not suit any other day than this. 

S 2 


that the King is above all laws, even above Magna Carta 
itself. 1 

The first four propositions were intended to secure the 
subject against all interference with the ordinary course of 
justice. The Great Charter, and six other statutes by which it 
had been interpreted in early times, were asserted to be in force. 
Every freeman was declared to have ' a fundamental property 
in his goods, and a fundamental liberty of his person.' His 
Majesty was to be requested to confirm the ' ancient just privi- 
leges and rights of his subjects in as ample and beneficial 
manner ' as ' their ancestors did enjoy the same under the best 
of his Majesty's most noble progenitors ; ' and to promise that 
' in all cases wi:hin the cognizance of the common law concern- 
ing the liberty of the subject, his Majesty would proceed 
according to the laws established in this kingdom, and in no 
other manner or wise.' 

The fifth proposition ran thus : " And as touching his 
Majesty's royal prerogative intrinsical 2 to his sovereignty, and 
The fifth entrusted him from God ad communem totius populi 
proposition, salutem, et nan ad destructionem, that his Majesty 
would resolve not to use or divert the same to the prejudice of 
any of his loyal people in the property of their goods or liberty 
of their persons ; and in case, for the security of his Majesty's 
Royal person, the common safety of his people, or the peaceable 
government of his kingdom, his Majesty shall find just cause, 
for reason of State, to imprison or restrain any man's person, 
his Majesty would graciously declare that, within a convenient 
time, he shall and will express the cause of the commitment 
or restraint, either general or special ; and, upon a cause so 
expressed, will leave him immediately to be tried according to 
the common justice of the kingdom." 

1 A copy of the propositions (S. P. Dom. cii. 14) is endorsed by Laud, 
as 'penned' by Dr. Harsnet, Bishop of Norwich.' Amongst other notes 
in Laud's hand, is one referring to the confirmation of Magna Carta : 
" Yes, but salvo jure corona nostra is intended in all oaths and promises 
exacted from a sovereign." 

So in Harl. M^S. 4771, fol. lie, and so quoted by Coke. The 
Parl. Hist, has 'incident.' 


In sending these propositions to the Commons, the Lords 
Assured them that they had prejudged nothing. They were 
ready to hear anything that might be said on the other side. 1 

It is only fair to the authors of these propositions to acknow- 
ledge that they seem to have been actuated by a serious wish to 
Spirit of the niediate between the opposing parties. Whilst they 
propositions. w j s hed, in opposition to Coventry and Buckingham, 
to exclude the Crown from all interference with the ordinary 
administration of the law, they also wished that the King 
should enjoy a right, analogous to the right of suspending the 
Habeas Corpus Act in our own times, of overriding the law in 
any special State emergency. Whether such a middle course 
was possible may well be doubted. The Lords who proposed 
to entrust Charles with extraordinary powers forgot that he had 
already ceased to inspire confidence. Even if this had not 
been the case, the language of the propositions was not felicitous. 
The prerogative referred to was spoken of as intrinsical to sove- 
reignty and was traced to a Divine origin. It was therefore 
entirely different from that prerogative which was considered as 
part of the law, and as liable to discussion in the Courts. 

When the propositions came before the Commons, they 

were savagely criticised by Coke. Was the confirmation of 

the Great Charter to be accorded as a grace ? What 

April 26. 

They are were just liberties ? Who were the best of his 
the com- !n Majesty's predecessors ? "We see," he said, "what 
an advantage they have that are learned in the law 
in penning articles above them that are not, how wise soever." 
Coming nearer to the heart of the matter, he asked what was 
intrinsical prerogative. " It is a word," he said, " we find not 
much in the law. It is meant that intrinsical prerogative is not 
bounded by any law, or by any law qualified. We must admit 
this intrinsical prerogative, and all our laws are out. And this 
intrinsical prerogative is intrusted him by God, and then it is 
jure divino, and then no law can take it away." His Majesty 
could commit when he pleased. It was the very thing for 
which King John had striven in vain. If the Lords refused 

1 Part. Hint. ii. 329. 


their concurrence in the resolutions of the Commons, it would 
be better to go directly to the King for redress. Selden spoke 
in the same tone. "At this little gap," he said, referring to the 
words 'convenient time,' "every man's liberty may in time 
go out." 

In the main, most of the speakers took the same view ol 
the case. But there were some who were still seeking for a 
middle course more satisfactory than that which had been pro- 
Noy'spro- posed by the Lords. Let the old laws, argued Noy, 
//*![* be recited and declared to be in force. Then let a 
r*orp*s Act. provision be made for the more ready issue of writs 
of habeas corpus, and let it be enacted that ' if there be no 
cause of detaining upon that writ,' the prisoner ' is to be de- 

Wentworth was less explicit than Noy. He said that he had 
no wish to dive into pointb ox" sovereignty or divine right. He 
Wentworth's hoped that the question ' whether the King be above 
speech. j^g j aw or th e j aw aDOV e the King ' would never be 
stirred. Though he rejected the fifth proposition as entirely 
as Coke or Selden, and would have nothing to do with it ' but 
only to disclaim it,' he doubted the wisdom of Coke's proposal 
to petition the King. Perhaps he thought that such a petition 
was sure of rejection ; but he merely argued that the petition, 
even if granted, would only be laid up in a Parliament Roll, 
and so remain practically unknown. Once more he declared 
that what was wanted was a Bill. There must be a clearer ex- 
planation of the words ' law of the land ' in the Great Charter, 
and they might confer with the Lords about that. It should 
be ordained in the Bill ' that none shall be committed without 
showing cause.' A penalty must be set on those who violated 
it. Then speaking in his grand, impetuous way of the possible 
breach of the law in extraordinary cases ' When it shall,' he 
said, ' on any emergent cause, he thinks no man shall find fault 
with it.' ' 

Wentworth's idea was much the same as Bristol's. The law 
must be clear against arbitrary committals. If the time came 

1 7/ar/. MSS. 4771, tbl. 112 b, 116. Nicholas's Notes. 


when the good of the State imperatively demanded its viola- 
tion, let the King violate it openly and boldly, and trust to the 
good sense of the nation for his justification. 1 

To Charles there was but little to choose between Coke and 
Went worth. On the 28th he summoned the Commons before 
him in the Upper House. It was a point, said the Lord Keeper 
A rii 28 ' n ^ e King' 5 name, of extraordinary grace and justice 
Coventry's in his Majesty to suffer his prerogative ' to rest so 
thatTtTe" 011 long in dispute without interruption.' But the delay 
musfbe Word could be borne no further, and he was therefore 
taken. commanded to declare that his Majesty held the 
Great Charter and the six statutes to be in force, and would 
' maintain all his subjects in the just freedom of their persons 
and safety of their estates, according to the laws and statutes 
of the realm.' They would 'find as much sincerity in his 
Royal word and promise as in the strength of any law they 
could make.' 8 

It was characteristic of Charles to suppose that his word 

1 It is worth noticing how this idea of a law binding for all ordinary 
purposes, which might yet be broken ' on any emergent cause,' was Went- 
worth's to the last. On September 13, 1639, he wrote about ship-money 
to Judge Hutton : " I must confess in a business of so mighty importance, 
I shall the less regard the forms of pleading, and do conceive that the 
power of levies of forces at sea and land for the very not feigned relief and 
safety of the public, is such a property of sovereignty as, were the Crown 
willing, yet can it not divest itself thereof. Salus populi supremo, lex; 
nay, in case of extremity even above Acts of Parliament." Straffbrd 
Letters, ii. 388. Ship-money, to Wentworth, was money levied for a real 
necessity. The forced loan was levied for a feigned necessity. One was 
for defence, the other for aggression. The difference between Went- 
worth in office and Wentworth out of office must also be taken into 
account. Laud's opinions were much the same. In his ' History of the 
Troubles ' (Works, iii. 399) he says : " By God's law and the . . . law of 
the land, I humbly conceive the subjects met in Parliament ought to supply 
their prince when there is just and necessary cause. And if an absolute ne- 
cessity do happen by invasion or otherwise, which gives no time for counsel 
or law, such a necessity but no pretended one is above all law. And I 
have heard the greatest lawyers in this kingdom confess that in times of 
uch,a necessity, the King's legal prerogative is as great as this.'' 

2 Parl. Hist. ii. 331. 


could stand in the place of a formal enactment. Yet the 
Debate in actlia l intervention of the King was not without its 
the com- effect. Rudyerd urged a fresh conference with the 
Lords, in the vague hope that some plan would be 
discovered which might please everyone. There was some- 
thing, he thought, in the King's offer. He would be glad ' to 
see that good old decrepit law of Magna Carta, which hath 
been so long kept in and bedrid, as it were,' walking abroad 
again with new vigour and lustre, attended by the other six 
statutes. But even Rudyerd thought there must be a Bill for- 
bidding imprisonment for refusing to pay loans or Privy seals. 

To confer with the Lords, after the experience lately gained, 
was poor advice. " I cannot conceive," said Eliot of the pro- 
positions, " how they can be of use to us." He adhered to 
Wentworth's suggestion of proceeding by Bill. 

Wentworth's views were thus at last adopted by the House. 
Resolutions and propositions were to drop together. Theories 
A BUI to be f ^ aw j theories of government, were to be left un- 
prepared. touched. The Commons were to prepare a practical 
solution of the difficulty, and to send it up to the Lords . for 
.their acceptance or rejection. A sub-committee, in which Eliot, 
Wentworth, Pym, and Phelips, and a few others of the leading 
members sat with all the lawyers in the House, was to draw 
up a Bill expressing the substance of the old statutes and of 
the recent resolutions of the Commons. 1 

On the morning of the 2Qth the Bill which was to assure 
the liberties of the subject was brought into the Grand Com- 
mittee by Coke, in the name of the sub-committee. 

April 29. J ' 

The Bill on " In this law," said the old lawyer, as he stood with 
of^suh- 8 ft st iU m hi s hand, "we looked not back, for qui 
J ect< repetit separat. We have made no preamble other 

than the laws, and we desired our pen might be in oil, not in 
vinegar." 2 

1 Commons' 1 Journals, i. 890 ; Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 120 ; ibid. 2313, 
fol. 65. Nicholas's Notes. 

* As the Bill never got out of Committee, it is not mentioned in the 
Journals. It has hitherto been confused with the subsequent Petition oi 
Right, and only fragments of the debates which followed have been known. 


Unlike the subsequent Petition of Right, the Bill contained 
no recital of grievances. Charles was not to be told that he 
had broken the law ; but he was plainly to acknowledge that 
he had no right to billet soldiers without the householder's 
authority ; to levy loans or taxes without consent of Parlia- 
ment ; or to commit a man to prison. If he did commit a 
man to prison the judges were to bail him, or deliver him, 
without paying regard to the King's orders. 

The question of imprisonment gave rise to some difference 
of opinion in committee. The declaration that the King could 
Debate on n t commit seemed to many to be harsh and un- 
the Bill. called for ; and there were some who argued that it 
would be enough if provision were made for the due granting of 
the habeas corpus, whether the prisoner had been committed by 
the King or by a subject. 

There was an evident division in the House. Eliot and 
Coke were for taking the Bill as it stood. Noy and Digges and 
Seymour were in favour of a modification. The party which 
afterwards passed over to the Crown was already forming. 

The following is the only form in which I have met with it. Harl. 
4771, fol. 123 : 

"An Act for the better securing of every freeman touching the propriety 
of his goods and liberty of his person. 

" Whereas it is enacted and declared by Magna Carta that no freeman 
is to be convicted, destroyed, &c., and whereas by a statute made in E. i, 
called de lallagio non concedendo : and whereas by the Parliament, 5 E. 3, 
and 29 E. 3, &c., and whereas by the said great Charter was confirmed, 
and that the other laws, &c. 

" Be it enacted that Magna Carta and these Acts be put in due execu- 
tion, and that all allegements, awards, and rules given or to be given to the 
contrary shall be void ; and whereas by the common law and statute, it 
appeareth that no freeman ought to be committed " (convicted in MS. ) 
" by command of the King, &c. ; and if any freeman be so committed and 
the same returned upon a habeas corpus, he ought to be delivered or bailed ; 
and whereas by the common law and statutes every freeman hath a pro- 
priety of his goods and estate, as no tax, tallage, &c., nor any soldier can 
be billeted in his house, &c. ; Be it enacted that no tax, tallage, or loan 
shall be levied &c. by the King or any minister without Act of Parliament. 
and that none be compelled to receive any soldiers into his house agairk-t 
his will." 


On the third day of the debate Wentworth rose. " We are 
here," he said, " to close up the hurt and danger of his Majesty's 
Ma T people. All our desires are but to this Bill ; and 
Wemwonh this left unsecured makes us lose all our labour. We 
oixiify shall tread the olive and lose all the oil. I agree the 
resolutions are according to law, and that we cannot 
recede a tittle. We can lay no other foundation than what is 
already laid. But here let us see how this misery comes on 
us ; first by the too speedy commitments at Whitehall, and by 
too slow bailments at Westminster Hall. If we secure the 
subject at Westminster by a good law, it will satisfy and i egulate 
the sudden commitments at Whitehall. We have by this Act a 
security by Magna Carta and the other laws. Let us make 
what law we can, there must nay there will be a trust left in 
the Crown. Let us confirm Magna. Carta and those other 
laws, together with the King's declaration, by this Act. Let us 
provide by this law to secure us that we may have no wrong 
from Westminster. Let it be enacted that we shall be bailed if 
habeas corpus be brought and no sufficient cause. Such a law 
will exceed all the laws that ever we had for the good of the 
subject ; and if it be so, I desire to know whether our country 
will not blame us if we refuse it. I am to be changed by better 
reason if I see it." ' 

Wentworth, it would seem, would have made the form of 
the Bill even more conciliatory chan it was. He would have 
Value of the confined himself to a bare recital of the statutes con- 
proposal, firmed, and would have added the words in which 
the King had declared his intention to observe them. But he 
tvould have omitted the denial of the King's right to commit. 
With a good Habeas Corpus Bill such a right would be perfectly 
harmless. If the prisoner committed without sufficient cause 
shown were liberated at once by the judges, the committals 
complained of would soon come to an end of themselves. 

It would have been curious to have seen Wentworth's pro- 

1 The reports in the Harleian MS. and Nicholas's Notes differ verbally 
from one another. I have pieced the two together, taking the one or the 
other as it seemed more full, and changing connecting words to fit the 
sentences together. 


posal in its complete shape. The judges would have had the 
ultimate decision of the legality of the committal in their hands. 
We know that Wentworth spoke of the trust to be reposed in 
the King, and that he had spoken before of circumstances in 
which a breach of the law would be a commendable action. In 
his present speech there was no provision for such a case. Yet 
the omission is perhaps one which strikes us more than it was 
likely to strike Wentworth. In those days the communication 
between the judges and the Government was much closer than 
it is now, and Wentworth may have thought that if special pre- 
cautions were needed, the King would lay the grounds upon 
which he proposed to suspend the law privately before the 
judges, and thus obtain their consent to the interruption of the 
ordinary course of justice. 

However this may have been, Wentworth's plan undoubtedly 
contemplated the transfer of authority from the King to the 
judges. It was enough for him that he could leave to the 
Crown all authority worth having. It must not be forgotten that 
no proposal had as yet been made for abolishing the power of 
fine and imprisonment possessed by the Star Chamber. Went- 
worth, at least, would have had no difficulty in ruling vigorously 
under such conditions. But he had forgotten that the shadow 
of authority was as dear to Charles as its substance. It was not 
from Coke or Eliot that the blow came which levelled to the 
dust the edifice which he was constructing with such toil. 
For all we know, his sway over the House may have been 
The King's as absolute as ever ; but as soon as he sat down 
message. fa e Secretary rose, declaring to the committee that 
he was entrusted with a message from his Majesty. When the 
Speaker had taken the chair, Sir John stated that the King 
wished the question to be put ' whether they would rest on his 
Royal word and promise.' 

The text was bad enough. The Secretary's comment was 

far more irritating. The House, he said, could not expect to 

place the King in a worse position than he had been 

Cok e scom- in before. He had a sword in his hand for the good 

of his subjects. Make what law they pleased, they 

could no', alter that. He was himself a Privy Councillor, and 


it would be his duty under any circumstances to commit with- 
out showing the cause to anyone but the King. 1 

After such a message the Commons had but one course 
to pursue. They adjourned to consider their position. One 
The House gleam of hope remained. It was known that the 
adjourned. Secretary had been in the House for some time, and 
it did not appear that any fresh communication had reached 
him after Wentworth began to speak. It was therefore just 
possible that, if Wentworth's overtures were allowed to reach 
Charles, they might still be accepted. 

When the House met the next day the case against Charles 
was put in the plainest terms by Sir Walter Erie. " It is con- 
ceived," he said, " that the subject had suffered more 

May 2. ' ' J 

Debate on in the violation of the ancient liberties within these 
lessage. f ew y ears t ^ an m ^g tnree hundred years before." 

Charles, in short, could not be trusted with powers which 
had been conceded to Henry and Elizabeth. The debate 
which followed showed how completely he had succeeded in 
throwing a chill over the sentiment which was rising in his 
favour. Those who thought that some moderate latitude 
should be allowed to the action of the Government were re- 
pelled by Charles's claim to be above all constitutional restric- 
tions. Noy and Digges remained silent. Seymour spoke in 
defence of the Bill. The awkward advocacy of the Solicitor- 
General only served to irritate his hearers. The King, he said, 
was certain to keep his word as long as he lived. A bad king 
in future times would not be bound by any law which they 
might make. 

The doctrine that the King was permanently above law 

was as offensive to those who, like Wentworth, recognised the 

, , fact that all possible cases could not be provided 

\Ventworths r . r 

appeal to the for by legislation, as to those who, like Coke, would 
reduce all government to the observation of the law. 
Wentworth, persisting in his opinion, almost smothered the 
King in compliments. Let them thank his Majesty, he said, 
for his gracious message. Never House of Parliament trusted 

1 Pa;-/, ffirt. ii. 342. 


more in his goodness than they did as far as their own private 
interests were concerned. " But," he added firmly, " we are 
ambitious that his Majesty's goodness may remain to posterity, 
and we are accountable for a public trust ; and therefore, seeing 
there hath been a public violation of the laws by his ministers, 
nothing can satisfy them but a public amends ; and our desires 
to vindicate the subjects' right by Bill are no more than are 
laid down in former laws, with some modest provision for illus- 
tration, performance, and execution." As if to suggest that the 
Bill, as it stood, was not altogether such as he approved of, he 
added that the King should be informed that the House had 
not yet agreed upon its terms. When it had been discussed 
and perhaps amended in the two Houses, the King would have 
it before him in its final shape. 

Nothing could be firmer in substance or more conciliatory 
in form. Even Coke, touched by the solemnity of the occa- 
Coke's sion, was conciliatory too. Let the Bill, he said, be 
proposal. couched in the form of a promise. " We will grant, 
for us and our successors, that we and our successors will do 
thus and thus." " It is to the King's honour," said Coke, " that 
he cannot speak but by record." 

All respect, in short, should be shown to the King. The 
House was ready to trust his word ; but his word must be 
given and his authority exercised as part of the constitutional 
system of the country, and not as something outside of it. 

Against the determination of the House it was useless to 
strive. Sir John Coke contented himself with denying the 
correctness of Wentworth's assertion that the laws 
laws been had been violated. Wentworth proudly answered that 
he had not said that the laws had been violated by 
his Majesty. They had been violated by his ministers. Seymour 
reminded the unlucky Secretary that he had himself acknow- 
ledged the violation, and had been content to excuse it on the 
plea of necessity. 1 

A sub-committee was appointed to draw up a Remonstrance 
on the basis of Wentworth's speech. The House answered 

1 In his speech of March 22, Par/. Hist. ii. 233. See p. 237. 


readily to the hand of its leader. Charles, however, would have 
Wentworth's none of such mediation. He knew well that what- 
t-amed im^ 6ver n ' s ministers had done, had been done with his 

a riemon- approbation. He therefore anticipated the Remon- 

The King strance by a message that he was ready to repeat the 
promise he had made, but that he would not hear ot 
any encroachment upon that sovereignty or prerogative which 
God had put into his hands for the good of his people. On 
May 13 the session must be brought to a close. 1 

The Commons could not but stand firm. They ordered 
the Remonstrance to be presented in spite of the message, 
M adding a few words of assurance to the King that 

The Re- they had no wish to encroach on his sovereignty or 
resemed? c prerogative. Charles held his ground. He would 
The King's confirm Magna Carta and the six statutes, but it 
must be ' without additions, paraphrases, or explana- 
tions.' For the rest he had given his Royal word, and that was 
enough. 2 

In the Remonstrance of May 5 Wentworth spoke for the last 

time in the name of the House of Commons. On that day 

his leadership came to its inevitable end. He had 

Wentworth's hoped to reconcile the King and his subjects. His 

1 lp ' idea of kingship was a high one too high, indeed, for 
the circumstances of the time ; but he regarded it, as Bacon had 
regarded it, as part of the constitution of England, as restricted 
to action in consonance with the laws, and only rising above 
them because no written laws could possibly provide for all the 
emergencies which might occur. For Charles the kingship was 
something different from this something divine in its origin 
and unlimited in its powers. Therefore, even if he was willing 
to agree that he would not repeat the actions which had given 
just offence in the preceding year, he was not willing to bind 
himself to more. He would surrender the abuse. The authority 
from which the abuse sprang he would not surrender. 

Wentworth's hopes were thus baffled. There was to be no 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 129-136; Nicholas's Notes ; Par!. Hist. ii. 


* Part. Hist. ii. 347. 


])iovision for the future with Charles's consent, no great con- 
structive measure which would lay afresh the foundation of a 
higher union between King and people in accordance with the 
wants of the age and the experience of the past. Wentworth 
must step aside and make room for another policy and other 
men. The Commons, if they were to carry their point at all, 
must set their teeth hard and declare war to the end against 
their sovereign. It would have been well for Wentworth if he 
had recognised once ibi all that no stable constitutional edifice 
could be raised with Charles for its foundation, if the bitter 
cry " Put not your trust in princes " which was to be wrung 
from him when at last he stooped his proud head before an 
angry and triumphant nation, had risen to his lips as he sat 
moodily watching the troubled assembly which it was now no 
longer his to guide. 



WHEN the King's answer to the Remonstrance was read, Sir 

John Coke proposed that it should be debated in the House 

May 6. an( i not ^ n committee, as being more for the King's 

The King's honour. Against this proposal Eliot protested. There 

answer to he ^ l r 

considered, was greater freedom of speech in committee. If a 
member changed his views, he could say so, though he had 
already spoken. " For my part," said Eliot, " I am often con- 

It was no hypocritical affectation of humility which brought 
these words to Eliot's lips. The records of this session are the 
Eliot's moral highest witnesses to the moral worth of the patriotic 
worth. orator. No man was ever placed in more trying cir- 
cumstances than Eliot during the first weeks of this session. 
He had been the life and soul of the last Parliament. It had 
thought with his thoughts and spoken with his words. Now 
other men were listened to more than himself. Policy which 
he thought unwise was frequently adopted. Yet all this he had 
borne without the slightest sign of self-will or petulance. He 
had spoken his opinion freely, and had frankly acknowledged 
that his opinion was changed whenever he saw that the argu- 
ment was going against him. 

After Wentworth's failure it was not likely that the House 
would again ask for anything short of the extreme measure of 
Debate in ^ ts claims. The discussion in committee was opened 
committee, ^y an appeal from Alford to the lawyers present to 
inform him what benefit would accrue to the subject by the 


confirmation of the statutes without explanation. Lyttelton 
promptly answered that the subject would be in a worse con- 
dition than before, as the abandonment of the resolutions would 
imply a doubt whether they were a correct interpretation of the 
statutes confirmed. Other members dwelt upon the vagueness 
of the King's offers. The King, said Sir Nathaniel Rich, was 
like a debtor who said, ' I owe you nothing, but pray trust me.' 
They must know what the King offered before they could say 
whether they would trust him or not. Another member pointed 
to the difference of opinion on the meaning of the words ' the 
law of the land ' in Magna Carta. " We all," he said, " agree 
what it is. But have the Lords and the judges so agreed ? " 
Pym pushed the argument still further home. " Our assurance," 
he said, "in the King's word were sufficient, if we knew what 
the King's sense and meaning is. We have not his word only, 
but his oath also at his coronation." If the law had been broken, 
it was clear that the King did not know what the law was. 
" We complain," he added, " of unjust imprisonment upon 
loans. I hear not any say we shall be no more, or that matter 
of State shall be no more pretended when there is none. . . . 
We all rest on the King's royal word. But let us agree in a 
rule to give us satisfaction." 

Sir John Coke remonstrated. Did Pym. mean that the King's 
word added no force to a law ? Sir Harbottle Grimston threw 
back upon the Secretary the words which he had recently 
spoken. " The King's ministers," he replied, " tell us here they 
must commit." Till the law on the point of committal was 
clearly understood, it was hopeless to expect an agreement. 
Even Sir John saw that something must be conceded. The 
loan, he said, was the original grievance. Let them petition 
his Majesty not to repeat it 

The Secretary little thought what echo his words would 
have. Sir Edward Coke rose at once. 1 Yes, he said, let us 

1 Mr. Forster (Sir J. Eliot, ii. 47) is evidently mistaken in speaking of 
Coke as rising with the draft in his hand. The Bill had been before the 
Committee for some days, and the petition was not yet in existence. It 
must be remembered that without the use of Harl, MS. 4771, or Nicholas's 
Notes, Mr. Forster had a very limited amount of straw to make his bricks 



rely on the King. " Under God, he is God's lieutenant. Trust 
him we must." Yet what was an answer in general words to 
particular grievances ? A verbal declaration was not the word 
of a king. " Did ever Parliament rely on messages ? They 
ever put up petitions of their grievances, and the king ever 
answered them ? The King's answer is very gracious. But 
what is the law of the realm ? that is the question. I put no 
diffidence in his Majesty. The King must speak by a record 
cote pro- an d m particulars, and not in general. Let us have 
Petition of a conference with the Lords, and join in a Petition 
Right. o f Right to the King for our particular grievances. 
Not that I distrust the King, but because we cannot take his 
trust but in a Parliamentary way." 

The word had at last been spoken which the House could 

accept as its only safe guidance. The King would not allow 

them to consider what was right and what was wrong ; 

General ac- . . 11111 r * ' 

ceptance of at least they could a^k that the meaning of the exist- 
the proposal. Jng laws should be p] ace( i beyond doubt, and that 

they should know whether the interpretation of Heath or the 
interpretation of Coke and Selden was to prevail. The accept- 
ance of the proposal was general and immediate. Eliot, Sey- 
mour, Glanville, Littleton, Phelips, Pym, Hoby, Coryton, and 
Digges adhered to it at once. Even Wentworth accepted it 
as now inevitable, though he reserved for himself the right of 
reconsidering his position after the King's answer had been 

The leaders of the House had all declared that they were 
ready to trust the King, and they doubtless persuaded them- 
selves that it was really so. Sir Nathaniel Rich rose 

Was the 

King really at the end of the debate to tear away the veil. A 
petition, he said, was better than a Bill, for by it 
they would have an answer before they sent up the subsidies. 
A petition, in fact, would receive an immediate answer. A 
Bill would be sent up at the end of the session, and what was 

with. A great part of the speech he al tributes to Coke does not seem to 
stand on any evidence, and I fancy he must inadvertently have carried his 
{narks of quotation too far. 


there to hinder the King from accepting the subsidies and re- 
jecting the Bill ? ' 

The sub-committee which had drawn up the previous Bill 
was entrusted with the preparation of the petition. 

A Petition of . . - , . . . 

Right to be A protest against forced loans, arbitrary impnson- 

prepare . men^ an( ] compulsory billeting was to form its 

substance. To these heads was to be added another against 

the late commissions for the execution of martial 

May 7. 

Martial law law. After recent experience it was hopeless to 
tested pr guard the broad assertion of their illegality by any 
provision for the maintenance of proper discipline in 
the army, and all that could be done was to declare that the 
exercise of martial law was absolutely illegal. 

There was no delay in the labours of the sub-committee. 

Ma s ^ n t ^ e 8t ' 1 t ^ ie ^ >et ^ t ^ on f Right was brought in 
The petition by Selden, and the House of Lords was asked to 
brought m. a pp O j nt a <jay f or a conference upon it In order 
to make the medicine more palatable to Charles, the resolution 
for the five subsidies was at last reported to the House. 2 

There was, indeed, need to render the medicine palatable 
if Charks was to accept it willingly. Everything to which he 
had objected in the Bill re- appeared in the petition 
contrasted " in a harder and more obnoxious form. He was no 
with the Bin. lon g er asked merely to regulate the course of his 
future action. He had to allow that actions done by his orders 
had been in direct opposition to the law of England. His 
acceptance of the Bill would have been a friendly agreement to 
order his relations with the nation on new terms. His accept- 
ance of the petition would be a humble acknowledgment of error. 

During these days, when his proposals had been flatly re- 
jected by the House, Charles lost all patience. A draft exists 
A dissolution f a declaration which was to explain the causes 
resolved on. o f fa e dissolution which had been resolved on ; but 
bettdr counsels prevailed, and the breach was averted for a time. 3 

1 Ifarl. MSS. 4771, fol. 137-140 b. Nicholas's Notes. 
"> Commons' Journals, i. 894. Harl. MSS. 4.771, fol. 144. 
1 The draft is in Heath's hand (S. P. Dom. cxxxviii. 45, i.\ and was 
calendared by Mr. Bruce, and quoted by Mr. Forster as applying to the 



The petition was at' once sent up to the Upper House. 
On the loth a Committee of the Lords reported that they left 
Ma the question of imprisonment to the House. The 

The petition rest of the petition they accepted with a few amend- 
j.ord. e ments, most of which were intended to render the 
tne P Lords~' condemnation of the past conduct of the Government 
Committee. j ess abrupt, whilst there were two which had been 
drawn up with the object of retaining for the King the power of 
exercising martial law over soldiers, though not over civilians. l 

Coming from such a source the report was clearly more 

condemnatory of the Government than the petition itself. As 

we read over the list of the committee Coventry, 

Composition ,, , . i t -n i / t -n ^ T-> 

of the Com- Manchester, Arundel, Bedford, Bristol, baye, Paget, 
Weston, with Bishops Harsnet and Williams 2 we 
feel that Charles must indeed have stood alone in England 
before such names would be appended to words which even in 
their modified form contained the severest censure to which 
any King of England had submitted since the days of 
Richard II. 

Before such a demonstration of opinion it was impos- 
sible for Charles to maintain his ground. In a letter to the 
Ma 12 Lords he condescended to argue the point of his 
The King right to imprison. " We find it insisted upon," he 

argues on his .1 . ,, i , i ij-^ 

right of im- wrote, that "in no case whatsoever, should it ever 
pnsonment. SQ near ] v con cem matters of State or Government, 
neither we, nor our Privy Council, have power to commit any 
man without the cause be showed, whereas it often happens 
that, should the cause be showed, the service itself would 
thereby be destroyed and defeated. And the cause alleged 
must be such as may be determined by our Judges of our 
Courts of Westminster in a legal and ordinary way of justice ; 

dissolution in 1629. I find it hard to believe that either Mr. Bruce or Mr. 
Forster ever seriously examined the paper. There is not a word referring 
to the second session, whilst everything would be in place in May 1628. 
The paper is undated, but if it belongs to this session must have been 
drawn up in the week following May 2 ; I suspect after the petition was 
known to the King. 

1 Part. Hint. ii. 351. 2 Lords' Journals, iii. 788. 


whereas the causes may be such as those Judges have not the 
capacity of judicature, nor rules of law to direct and guide 
their judgment in cases of so transcendent a nature ; which 
happening so often, the very intermitting of that constant rule 
of government practised for so many ages within this kingdom, 
would soon dissolve the foundation and frame of our mon- 
archy." Yet Charles was ready to engage that he would never 
again imprison anyone for refusing to lend him money, and 
that when he did imprison he would always disclose the cause 
as soon as it could be done conveniently for the safety of the 

The King's letter was forwarded to the Commons by the 

Lords. The Commons would not hear of such a basis of 

May 14 settlement. When the petition was complete they 

His overture would ask for the King's assent. A letter was of no 

She Com- value. The Lords replied that they did not place 

more weight than the Commons upon the letter. All 

that they wished was to bring the petition into conformity with 

the letter, so as to give it a chance of securing the King's 

issent. 1 

The Lords were about to try what they could do to give 
effect to their wishes; but though they had been apparently 
The Lords unanimous in supporting the proposed course, the 
Tcxol^moda- unanimity was greater in appearance than in reality. 
tlon - Saye and his friends agreed to allow the attempt to 

be made, on the express understanding that if it failed they 
might fall back on the petition as it stood. 

That there was a strong element in the Upper House which 

desired to take a middle course was manifest. Though men 

like Williams and Bristol and Arundel had suffered 

May 15. 

Debate in too much from the unrestrained exercise of the King's 
rds ' authority not to join heartily in the main demands 
of the petition, they were too old statesmen not to be aware 
that a discretionary power must be lodged somewhere, and 
they laboured hard to discover some formula which should 
restrict it to real cases of necessity. At first it seemed that the 

1 Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 155. Lords' Journals, Hi. 796. 


Lord Keeper would meet them half-way. "No man," said 
Coventry, "ought to be imprisoned but a clear and direct 
cause ought to be showed, unless the very declaration of the 
cause will destroy the business, and in such a case, for a time, 
a general cause may serve." A committee was appointed to 
draw up a form of words in which Coventry's view might be 

It was no such easy matter. The Committee for a long 
time was unable to agree upon anything. At last they re- 
Ma 16 P rte d a clause proposed by Williams. 1 Thus it 
wniiams's ran : " Thai no freeman be for not lending money 
or for any other cause contrary to Magna Carta and 
the other statutes insisted upon, and the true intention of the 

1 There are two clauses in the LordS Journals (iii. 799, 80) with no 
names to them. Compare Rising's Notes. The second, the one finally 
adopted, is twice claimed by Weston. From the same notes we learn that 
there had been two forms before, the one proceeding from Williams and the 
other from Arundel, the latter of which was probably in some way or other 
amended by Weston. Williams's speeches, as there reported, leave no 
doubt that his was the one in which the King's sovereignty is not men- 
tioned. The usual attribution to Williams of the clause about sovereignty 
falls to the ground, and that theoiy, in fact, is directly contradicted by 
Williams's notes on the King's letter as given by Hacket, ii. 77. Of the 
supposed intrigues of Williams, and his alleged efforts at this time to bring 
Wentworth over to the Court, I know nothing. Racket's account of a 
later reconciliation with Buckingham will be given in its proper place. 
Williams, no doubt, acted with Bristol and Arundel, but to act with 
Bristol and Arundel was to be opposed to Buckingham and the Court, 
though not so decidedly as Saye. The true story of William's proposed 
clause is told in a paper in Harl. MSS. 6800, fol. 274, under the heading 
" The offer of accommodation made by the Bishop of Lincoln. " He would 
have left the preface to the petition as it stood, adding a complaint that 
divers of his Majesty's subjects had been imprisoned without cause shown, 
and would then have inserted the clause in the text for ' that no freeman 
in any such manner as is before mentioned be imprisoned or detained.' 

He also proposed a form for the King's reply, as follows : " Neither we 
nor our Privy Council shall or will at any time hereafter commit or com- 
mand to prison, or otherwise restrain the persons of any for not lending 
of money unto us, nor for any other cause contrary to the true intention of 
Magna Carta and those other six statutes insisted upon to be expounded 
by our judges in thai behalf." 


same, to be declared by your Majesty's judges in any such 
matter l as is before mentioned imprisoned or detained." 

The clause was certainly not clear, and needed all Williams's 
explanations ; but its intention was manifestly that which he said 
it was. While he believed, as Wentworth believed, 
that in very special cases the King had by his pre- 
rogative the right of suspending the action of the ordinary 
law, he shrank from affirming this in so many words. The 
result was ambiguity itself. The author of the clause was the 
first to discover that his meaning had been misun- 

May 17. 

Explanation derstood. He had to explain that in referring the 
ims ' decision of the legality of a commitment to the judges 
he had no thought of countenancing the idea that they might 
refuse bail on the old ground of want of cause expressed. He 
meant, he protested, nothing of the sort. If his proposition 
meant that, it was 'the idlest that ever was offered.' 

A medium of agreement which needs explanation from its 
author is self-condemned ; but it was probably not its obscurity 
which rendered it unpalatable to the majority of the Upper 
House. " Power," said Weston, " which is not known and 
confessed, cannot be obeyed." The following clause, probably 
originally drawn up by Arundel and finally brought 

Arundel's , ,, r , c , e 

clause in by Weston, left no doubt of the reservation of 

1 pte ' authority. It ran thus : " We humbly present this 
petition to your Majesty, not only with a care of preserving 
our own liberties, but with due regard to leave entire that 
sovereign power wherewith your Majesty is trusted for the pro- 
tection, safety, and happiness of your people." 

Was even this free from ambiguity? On the ipth, the 
Commons having asked leave to argue against the proposed 
Ma t amendments in the body of the petition, Williams 
its meaning moved that those amendments should be with- 
drawn and the new additional clause alone discussed. 
Buckingham rose to give his approval to the proposal, on the 
understanding that the reservation of sovereignty applied to 
the whole petition. Such a demand undeniably went far 

1 " Matter" in the Harl. copy ; " manner " in the Lords' Journals. 
* As I have said, he twice claims the authorship in Eking* s Notes. 


beyond the intention of all members of the House who were 
. . more than mere courtiers. If it was granted, the King 

Bucking- . ' 

ham's inter- would be at liberty not merely to imprison without 

pretation. . ' 11111 /- e 

showing cause whenever he thought that the safety of 
the State so required, but to collect forced loans, to issue com- 
missions of unlimited martial law, and to billet soldiers by force, 
whenever, in his judgment, such a contingency might arise. 
Save " If you extend this addition to every particular in 

dissents. tne petition," said Saye, " the petition is quite over- 
thrown. Your expressions were to reserve the sovereign power 
only in emergent cases, and not in the particulars mentioned 
in the petition, for then a man may be, for any particular men- 
tioned in the petition, committed hereafter." l 

Saye's objection was certain to find an echo in the Lower 
House. With a comparatively unimportant exception, all the 
May ao. amendments to the body of the petition were rejected 
the b com- n ^ tne Commons, and their rejection was acquiesced 
mons. j n by the Lords. The additional clause now formed 

the only point in dispute between the Houses. 2 It was soon 
evident that the Commons would have nothing to say to it. 
They professed themselves unable to discover what sovereign 
power might mean. According to Bodin, said Alford, it means 
that which ' is free from any condition.' " Let us give that to 
the King that the law gives him, and no more." " I am not 
able," said Pym, " to speak to this question. I know not what 
it is. All our petition is for the laws of England, and this 
power seems to be another distinct power from the law. I 
know how to add sovereign to his person, but not to his power. 
Also we cannot leave to him sovereign power, for we never 
were possessed of it." 3 Then, showing how well he was in- 

1 Ehing's Notes. 

2 Rushworth, whom Mr. Forster had no choice but to follow, gives a 
debate as taking place on the I7th, which is really the debate of the aoth, 
together with a jumble of two speeches of Wentworth's foisted in from the 
22nd and 23rd, and a speech of Selden's from the 22nd. 

* Mr. Forster corrects 'he never was' for 'we never were ' (Sir J. 
Eliot, ii. 55, Note 8) ; but "we never were " has the authority of MSS. 
otherwise varying from one another ; and Pym may have meant, ' We can 
only leave what we have control over. This is beyond our control." 


formed of what had passed in the Upper House, Pym went on 
to allude to Buckingham's explanation. " We cannot," he said, 
" admit of these words with safety. They are applicable to 
all the parts of our petition." The clause, in fact, was of the 
nature of a saving, and would annul the whole. Coke followed 
in much the same way. The prerogative, he said, was part of 
the law, but sovereign power was not. 

Without a dissentient voice, therefore, the clause was rejected 
by the House of Commons. Coke had clearly taken the right 
The clause ground when he said that the prerogative was part of 
rejected. ^g j aw ^5 Wentworth had said before, if an actual 
emergency occurred, no man would dispute what the King did. 
Yet to insert a special saving of such a right as being above the 
law was to make all law uncertain. 1 

When the answer of the Commons was carried up to the 

Lords, many a tongue was loosed to speak against Weston's 

clause. "The prerogative of the Crown," said 

Objection to -,,.,.. ... .... ., . 1*1 

the clause in Williams, " is a title in law, and those learned in the 
' e or s> law do know the extent of it as well as of any other 
articles." "The saving," declared Bristol, "is no way essential 
to the business." Might not, he suggested, the petition be 
sent up as it was, accompanied by a verbal statement that the 
Houses had no intention of infringing upon the prerogative. 
Buckingham T such a solution as this, however, Buckingham 
stands by it. would no t listen. " Let it be resolved here among 
us," he said, " that there be a saving." He was not allowed to 
have his way. The House adjourned, at the joint motion of 
Saye and Arundel. 

The next day Buckingham expressed his willingness to make 
a great concession. He was ready to change the words ' sove- 

reign power ' into ' prerogative/ The House seems 
try to explain to have been fairly puzzled. Paget suggested that 

the judges should be asked their opinion. Abbot 
said he had heard a learned peer say that they could not 
destroy the prerogative, even by an Act of Parliament. Bridge- 
water naively expressed his opinion that after so long a debate 

1 Harl JlfSS. 4771, ful. 1 66. 


they ought to ' resolve of some addition or other,' and ' to think 
of fitting reasons.' Williams said he would not vote till it was 
made plain to him that the addition ' did not reflect nor any 
way operate upon the petition ; ' and Weston, the author of the 
clause, together with Dorset, usually one of the most determined 
partisans of the Government, expressed their full concurrence 
in this view of the case. No wonder that the original Opposi- 
tion pushed their advantage home. Saye and North urged 
that before going in search of reasons for the addition, they had 
better decide whether the addition was necessary at all. Buck- 
ingham begged the House to vote at once whether there was to 
be a saving of the King's power or not. Rather, urged Essex, 
let us vote first whether we will agree to the petition or not. 
In this chaos of opinion a proposal of Coventry's was finally 
adopted, that the addition should be again commended to the 
Lower House, but that he should be authorised to explain that 
it really meant as little as possible. 1 

Buckingham had clearly lost his hold upon the Lords. As 

far as it is possible to judge from the debates, the prevailing 

opinion was that the law was as it was stated in the 

The Lords L 

no longer petition, although a loophole ought to be left for 

under Buck- r , , ... ,.. . 

ii.gham's sudden and unforeseen emergencies. Yet the mo- 
ment they came to put this upon paper the difficulty 

of not yielding more than they intended to yield was altogether 


Insuperable, at least, the difficulty seemed to the Commons. 

In the debate which followed the Lord Keeper's communication, 
not a single voice was raised in favour of the clause. 

May 22. 

The addition Lawyers and country gentlemen argued alike that the 
the e co^i- by additional clause would destroy the whole petition, 
mons. ^r; ne King, it would be understood to say, cannot 

billet soldiers or force loans upon us by the law ; but he can 
by his sovereign power. Sir Henry Marten stripped the whole 
question of its techicalities. According to ^Esop, he said, 
the lion, the ass, and the fox went out hunting together. The 
booty was taken, and the ass having divided it into three equal 

1 Elf ing's Notes. 


portions, told the lion that it was his prerogative to choose 
between them. The lion took it ill that only a portion was 
offered him, and saying, " It is my prerogative to choose," tore 
the ass in p eces. The fox, taught by the ass's calamity, con- 
tented himself with a little piece of skin. Such, implied 
Marten, would be the fate of the English people if they once 
acknowledged a power superior to the laws. To this view of 
the case Wentworth gave his hearty approval. " I think," he 
said, " we all agree we may not admit of this addition. If we 
do, we shall leave the subject worse than we found him, and 
we shall have little thanks for our labours when we come home. 
I conceive this addition, as it is now penned, amounts to a 
saving, whereas before the law was without a saving. I am 
resolved not to yield to it ; but let us not vote it ; let a sub- 
committee collect the reasons already given." ' 

Wentworth was unwilling to come into unnecessary collision 
with the Lords, and as the House was of the same opinion, he 
Arguments had no difficulty in carrying his point so far as its 
sentecUo the immediate action was concerned. The clause was 
Lords. n ot rejected, but a sub-committee was to prepare an 
argumentative answer to be laid before the Lords. 

The next morning the sub-committee reported the heads of 

the answer which they proposed that Glanville and Marten 

Maya 3 . should deliver. Before they had been adopted by the 

Wentworth Grand Committee. Wentworth rose. " We are now 

proposes a ' 

lurtherac- fallen," he said, " from a new statute and a new law 

commoda- . . . 

tion. to a Petition of Right, and unless the Lords co-operate 

with us, the stamp is out of that which gives a value to the 
action. If they join with us it is a record to posterity. If we 
sever from them it is like the grass upon the house-top, that is 
of no long continuance. And therefore let us labour to get the 
Lords to join with us. To this there are two things consider- 
able ; first not to recede in this petition either in part or in 
whole from our resolutions ; secondly, that the Lords join with 
us, else all is lost. We have protested we desire no new thing ; 

1 This is from Ha>-l. MSS, 4771, fol. 176 b, except the words ' as it is 
now penned,' which come from Nicholas's Notes. The debate is headed in 
Nicholas, May 23. 


we leave all power to his Majesty to punish malefactors. Let 
us clear ourselves to his Majesty that we thus intend. It is far 
from me to presume to propound anything. I dare not trust 
my own judgment, only to prevent a present voting l with the 
Lords. Let us again address ourselves to the Lords that we 
are constant in our grounds that we desire no new thing, nor 
to invade upon his Majesty's prerogative : but let us add, 
though we may not admit of this addition, yet if their Lordships 
can find out any way to keep untouched this petition, we will 
consider of it and join with them." 2 

Wentworth was consistent with himself in attempting to 
provide for all emergencies. To Eliot the suggestion was a 
mere machination of evil, for he saw, what Wentworth did not 
see, that these emergencies must be left to future generations 
to provide for ; and he saw too, in a dim way, that the House 
of Commons was the heir of the Tudor monarchy, and would 
be the depositary of those extraordinary powers which Charles 
had forfeited the right to exercise. Thus, without knowing 
it clearly, he became the advocate of change in the frame of 
the State, which should indeed maintain old principles and 
should operate within the lines of the old constitution ; whilst 
Wentworth, whose mind was full of schemes for alteration and 
reform, was an advocate of the constitutional forms which had 
existed in the days of his youth. Early in the session he had 
announced that the Commons could do nothing without the 
King. He now announced that they could do nothing without 
the Lords. 

To Eliot such a suggestion was intolerable. " As though," 
he said, " the virtue and perfection of this House depended 
Eliot's re- upon and were included in their Lordships ! Sir, I 
ioinder. cannot make so slight an estimation of the Commons 
as to make them mere cyphers to nobility ! I am not so taken 
with the affectation of their Lordships' honour, so much to 
flatter and exalt it. No ! I am confident that, should the Lords 
desert us, we should yet continue flourishing and green." At 
the proposal itself, he went on to say, he could not but be 

1 Voting a rejection of the clause in opposition to them. 
* Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 176 b. 


amazed. Il was to throw them back after so long a debate 
into new rocks and difficulties. 1 Eliot then insisted on the 
danger of making the slightest change in the petition, and 
charged Wentworth with deserting the cause which he had 
once espoused. Then addressing himself to the substance of 
the proposal, he exposed in masterly language its entire futility. 
" No saving in this kind," he said, "with what subtlety soever 
worded, can be other than destructive to our work." 

These last words contain the true vindication of the persist- 
ency with which the Commons held to their determination. 
Not that Wentworth, looking at the question from a different 
point of view, was without excuse. Whether the Commons 
were right or wrong, their petition contained within it the germs 
of a revolution. As a matter of fact no man then living could 
remember the time when the discretionary power which Charles 
claimed had not been exercised by the Crown. Wentworth at 
Wentworth's once rose to vindicate his motives. Declaring that 
reply. he h ac } mere iy meant by bis metaphors that without 

the assent of the Peers the petition would have no statutory 
force, he explained his own position. " My proposition," he 
said, " is for no moderation, but preserve the petition in the 
whole or the parts of it. I will never recede from it. Put it 
not in extremity to have it voted against us. It was wondered 
I spake after so long a debate. I have discharged my con- 
science and delivered it. Do as you please. God, that knows 
my heart, knows that I have studied to preserve this Parlia- 
ment, as I confess the resolutions of this House, in the opinion 

1 There is evidence here that Eliot's speeches in the Port Eliot MSS., 
though in the main correct, were subject to some manipulation. He is 
there made to refer to that which had been done ' by the Grand Committee 
this morning in direction of those arguments to the Lords which they 
framed.' When Eliot wrote this down, he must have fancied that the 
speech had been delivered in the Hou<e itself, and Mr. Forster thereupon 
(ii. 68) supposed that Wentworth's speech to which Eliot replied was 
delivered in support of a fresh proposal of the Lords which was really not 
discussed till the 24th. But unless the whole debate is a dream of the 
llarleian reporter, the debate was in committee, and the direction of the 
committee was not given till after Eliot's speech was finished. The end 
cf Eliot's speech, too, see;ns to have been altered in the same way. 


of wise men, stretch very far on the King's power, and if they 
be kept punctually, will give a blow to government. The 
King said that if government were touched, he was able to 
protect us ; and by l this saving indeed is added nothing to 
him." 2 

It was quite true ; the bare law of the petition could never 
be the rule for all future time. Martial law would have to 

be executed upon soldiers if discipline was to be 
there weight maintained Provision must somehow be made for 

lodging the men when they were brought together, 
and, if extraordinary evils demanded extraordinary remedies, 
men must be imprisoned without much regard for their legal 
rights. What Eliot saw and Wentworth did not see, was 
that these powers could no longer safely be entrusted to 
Charles. When the law was once made without exception, 
exceptional cases could be settled as they arose with consent of 
Parliament. To us the change seems simple enough. But 
the change was great in those days. By making the consent 
of Parliament necessary to the King, it deprived him of that 
right of speaking in all emergencies as the special representative 
of the nation, which he held from custom if not from con- 
stitutional law. 

Wentworth's argument made no impression on those who 
heard it. Seymour alone supported it; but he met with 
The Com- no response, and Glanville and Marten were de- 
agains d t ec ' de s P atcne d to lay their long train of reasoning before 

Wentworth. (;} ie Lords. 

It was impossible for the Lords to maintain the addition 
any longer. As far as we can judge, the great majority of the 
House, with Bristol and Williams at its head, was of the same 
opinion as Wentworth. Argument and the current of events 
had made Buckingham powerless. Whilst, however, this majority 
was strong enough to refuse to follow Buckingham, its weakness, 
like Wentworth's weakness, lay in the impossibility of placing 
ideas upon paper without surrendering to the King more than 
it was willing to surrender. Weston's clause had merely beeu 

' "to "in MS. 

* ffarl. MSS. 4771, fol. 176 b. Part. Hist. ii. 364. 


thrown out as a feeler, and the moment it was seriously 
assailed it was dropped without difficulty. Yet the Lords felt 
that something must be done. Clare proposed that 
make a frLh a Committee of both Houses should draw up another 
proposa , f orm upon which they could all agree. Abbot sug- 
gested that a conference should be held to see ' if there be any 
that can find a more commodious way of accommodation.' There 
was plainly nothing definite fixed, nothing which it was possible 
to ask the House to stand on. Laud's old friend, Bishop 
Buckeridge, of Rochester, made a very different proposal. Let 
the petition, he said, be delivered to the judges, that they may 
give their opinion whether anything in it ' do intrench upon 
the King's prerogative.' Their opinion could then be entered 
on the roll, ' and then this petition can no way prejudice the 
King's right.' The idea here was much the same as Went- 
worth's ; the idea of an inalienable prerogative, not above the 
law but part of the law, and which it was therefore not neces- 
sary to express in words. Clare's suggestion was the one 
adopted. The Commons were asked to join the Lords in a 
committee, 'to see if, by manifestation and protestation or 
declaration or any other way, there could be any way found 
out to satisfy his Majesty.' 1 

The proposal was elastic enough. The reasons for reject- 
ing it were admirably put by Phelips. "What," he said, 
" should be the subject of this accommodation ? It 
jected by" the must be somewhat like the last addition. If it be 
ons ' so put into other words and acted otherwise, yet 
virtually and actually it will be interpreted to amount to the 
very same thing. Also we have already expressed as much 
care over his Majesty's prerogative as can be made. We have 
obliged ourselves by our oaths, and how apt have we been to 
defend it upon all occasions ! " Wentworth and Seymour were 
in favour of appointing the joint committee ; but they found 
no support, and the proposal of-the Lords was rejected. 

The action thus taken by the Commons was in little danger 
of meeting with a repulse in the House of Lords, as Wentworth 

Notes; Harl. MSS. 4771, fol. 193 b. 


had feared. The leaders of that middle party, which was now 
able to command a majority, declared that they would push 

Mayas, their desire for an accommodation with the King no 
pa h r e t>^ l nfhe mr ther. Arundel explained rhat he had now no wish 

u ds u agree to press the Lower House ' with an addition to this 

with the \ 

Commons, petition.' " We do hold it fit," he added, "to declare 
to the King that we intend not to prejudice his prerogative in 
this petition, in regard we are exempted from the oath of 
supremacy." The Lords, in fact, would practically join in that 
cath to which Phelips had appealed, and the right of the pre- 
rogative would be left as vague as before. Bristol accepted the 
way of escape offered. The Commons, he said, had declared 
that they had no intention of prejudicing the prerogative. Let 
the Lords make the same declaration at once. 

Would this view of the case be acceptable at Court. 
Dorset, impulsive as when he had gone forth to the bloody 
Resistance duel which has fixed a stain on his name for ever, or 
ham U a C ud n &'s vvnen he declared in the Parliament of 1621 that the 
friends. passing bell was tolling for religion, stood foremost 
in the breach. " My Lords," he said, " if I did not believe 
this petition would give the King a greater wound here in his 
government than I hope ever an enemy shall, I would hold 
my peace." l Buckingham himself declared firmly against the 
course proposed. " The business," he said, " is now in your 
hands alone, which gives me comfort. It now remains whether 
you will depart from your addition. If we now depart from 
our addition, we do in a manner depart from ourselves. The 
addition must 2 be either in the preamble, or in the body, or the 
conclusion. If it be nowhere I cannot give my vote to it. The 
reason is 3 that it carries words in it not expressed in Magna 
Carta and the other six statutes. Let them go their way and 
we make a petition, and then we may make a protestation as 
we please." 

If anything were needed *to justify the resolution of the 

1 The report ends at "shall." The five following words are added 
from conjecture. 

" to be," MS. " Reason that," MS. 

1 6z8 THE LORDS GIVE WA F. 289 

Commons, it was these words of Buckingham. He, at least, 
The Lords wanted something more than the prerogative which 
vfeTofthe Bristol and Arundel were ready to allow. But the 
Commons, (jays were gone by when Buckingham could hope 
to cany the House with him. Abbot advised the Peers to 
'join with the Commons in the petition, though we would 
have had also some demonstration of their saving of the King's 
just prerogative.' l "When their liberties," said Northampton, 
" have been trenched upon, their goods have been taken away 
not by a legal course, I will desire that it may be amended. 
When the subjects' liberty is in question, I will creep upon rny 
knees with a petition to his Majesty with all humility. When 
the King's prerogative is in question, I will get upon my horse 
and draw my sword, and defend it with my life and estate." 
After this a motion was made by another peer that a declaration 
might be prepared for clearing the King's prerogative. 2 

The advice thus given was taken. The next day a form 

was unanimously adopted by which the Lords declared, alto- 

6 gether apart from the petition, that their intention 

Declaration was not to lessen or impeach anything which by 

the oath of supremacy they had ' sworn to assert 

and defend.' 

It was not much. The oath of supremacy simply bound 
those who took it to defend the authority of which the Crown 
was already possessed, without specifying what that authority 
was. The declaration, however, left it open to those who held 
that the Crown had a right to override the law in cases of 
emergency, to assert that they had not sacrificed their con- 
sciences to political conveniency. The Commons on their 
May 28. P art had no desire to push matters farther. On the 
^JTbo't'h" 28th tne petition was brought up to the Lords, and 
Houses. was by them adopted without more discussion. 

Three or four weeks earlier, Charles would probably have 
refused even to consider the petition in the form in which it 
The King's now reached him ; but the last week had brought 
difficulties, news of disaster which would hardly allow him to 
turn his back so easily upon the proffered subsidies. In 

1 Minute Book, House of Lords MSS, * Ehing 1 * Notes. 



Germany Stade was lost. In France Rochelle was still un- 

The disasters of the autumn of 1627 had converted the 
war in North Germany into a succession of sieges. Whilst 

r Schleswig and Jutland were overrun by the Imperial- 

January. . . . . . 

Morgan at ists, Christian clung with the grasp of despair to 

the fortresses by which the mouth of the Elbe was 
guarded. Krempe and Gliickstadt on the eastern side were 
supplied with money and provisions by the Dutch. Stade, 
near the western bank, had the misfortune to be confided to 
Morgan's English garrison. Every disposable penny in the 
Exchequer had been applied to the French war, and since 
August the little force 4,000 men in all was left to shift for 
itself. 1 Anstruther and Morgan raised a little money on their 
own credit, not enough to do more than to procure a fresh 
supply of shoes and stockings. Even though no actual siege 
was opened, the enemy lay closely around the town, and pro- 
visions were not to be obtained from the surrounding country. 
Yet the brave old Morgan showed no signs of flinching. " If 
it must be my extreme hard fortune," wrote the General, " to be 
thus abandoned, I will not yet abandon myself, nor this plac^, 
as long as with cat and dog our present diet we shall be able 
to feed an arm to that strength that it may lift a sword." 2 

Week after week slipped away, and help came not. Want 
and disease were doing their fell work, and Morgan had little 
hope of holding out. Before the end of March Anstruther 
received a little money from England. It was now too late. 
The town was closely blockaded and no supplies could be sent 

in. On April 27 Stade was formally surrendered to 
Surrenderor Tilly. 3 The garrison was allowed to march out with 

all the honours of war, and a month later, whilst the 
Lords and Commons were fighting their last battle over the 
Petition of Right, the whole sad story was known in England. 4 

1 At the beginning of the year the garrison numbered 3,900, viz. 2,700 
Knglish, 700 Scots, 500 Germans. Anstruther to Conway, Jan. 5, S. P. 

* Morgan to Conway, Jan. 25, S. P. Denmark. 

* Anstruther to Conway ; Morgan to Conway, May 3, ibid. 

* Woodward to Windebank, May 21, S. P. Dam. civ. 47. 


Thus dropped the curtain, amidst gloom and disaster, upon 
the scene of English history on which Charles and Bucking- 
End of h am na d entered so hopefully four years before. The 
tervendon" in war ^ or t ^ ie deliverance of the Palatinate, to be waged 
Germany, whether the nation supported it or not, had come, to 
this. The sixteen hundred brave men, worn with toil and 
hunger, who stepped forth from Stade with colours flying and 
with arms in their hands, the noble old General who had held 
his own so long, abandoned as he was by King and country, 
had no need to feel the shame of failure. The shame was foi 
those who had directed the course of war so aimlessly, and who 
had so erroneously judged the conditions of the contest. 

Even now Charles thought but little of the disaster in 
Germany compared with the other disaster in France. The 
deliverance of the Palatinate had come to be for him a matter 
of secondary importance, in which he had long since ceased to 
expect success. The deliverance of Rochelle was a matter of 
personal honour. 

Before the end of April Denbigh's fleet, sixty-six vessels in 
all, bad at last left Plymouth Sound. The crews were pressed 
men, carried off against their wills from their daily occupations 
to a service of danger in which the reward was but scanty pay, 
or most probably no pay at all. Many of them were soldiers 
converted forcibly into sailors from very necessity. Such a 
fleet was hardly likely to overcome even moderate opposition. 

May i. When, in the afternoon of May i, Denbigh's force 
fleeMif 11 ' 5 ranged U P m front of the port of Rochelle, the danger 
Rochelle. wa s plainly seen to be of the most formidable descrip- 
tion. The passage up the harbour, narrow enough of itself, 
was still further narrowed by moles jutting out from either side, 
Defences of an( ^ the opening between them was guarded by pali- 
the French. sa( j eS) m f rO nt of which were vessels, some of them 
sunken, some floating at the level of the water. Even to reach 
such a formidable obstruction it would be necessary to beat 
clown the fire of twenty armed vessels, supported by crowds 
of musqueteers, who were in readiness either to fire upon the 
enemy from the shore or to float off in barges to the succour of 
their friends. It may be questioned whether Drake or Nelson, 

U 2 


followed by crews as high-spirited and energetic as themselves, 
could have made the attack successfully. It is certain that 
Denbigh's force, composed as it was of men without heart in 
the matter, could not but fail. 

Of the details of the failure it is hardly possible to decide 
in the midst of the conflicting evidence. The English officers, 
when they came home, threw all the blame upon the Rochellese 
who accompanied them, whilst the Rochellese bitterly retorted 
the accusation. It is, however, plain that the English officers had 
no confidence in their chance of success, and Denbigh was not 
the man to inspire those beneath him with a more daring spirit. 
A resolution was taken to wait till the next spring-tides made 
the attack easier for his fire-ships. On the morning of the 8th 
Mays. a fresh apprehension seized upon the commander. 
ihe*undf- ^hc wmc ^ was blowing from Rochelle, and if he 
taking. could not set fire to the ships of the enemy, the 
French might possibly set fire to his. He therefore gave the 
order to weigh anchor, that the fleet might retire to a little 
distance. When the minds of men are in a state of despon- 
dency the slightest retrograde movement is fatal. The Rochellese 
weighed anchor as they were told, but they understood that the 
expedition had been abandoned, and made. all sail for England. 
Thus deserted, the whole fleet followed the example. 1 

The first news of difficulty had only served to sharpen 
Charles's resolution. On the 1 7th he issued orders to Denbigh 

to hold on at Rochelle as long as possible, and to ask 
Deterniina- f r reinforcements if he found them needful. 2 On 
Chariesnot '^ e 1 9^ ne ^ new tna * the fleet was on its way home. 3 
to give way. Never before had he been so angry. "If the ships 

had been lost," he cried, impatiently, " I had timber 
enough to build more." He at once despatched Denbigh's 
son, Lord Fielding, to Portsmouth with orders to press into the 

1 Examinations of Rnmboilleau and Le Brun, May 16. Denbigh, 
Palmer, and Weddell to Buckingham, June 2, S. P. Dom. civ. 2 i., 3 i., 
cvi. II. 

* The King to Denbigh, May 17, S. P. Dom. civ. 8. 

1 The date we learn from Contarini. The news, as we know from the 
examinations cited above, reached Plymouth and Dartmouth on the i6th. 


King's service every vessel he could meet with, and to direct 

his father to go back at all hazards to Rochelle, and there to 

await the further supplies which would be sent. 1 Secretary 

Coke himself was sent down to Portsmouth to hurry on the 

reinforcements. On the 27th Denbigh was off the 

Isle of Wight, professing his readiness to return as 

soon as his shattered fleet could be collected. 2 It was easier 

for him to talk of returning than actually to return. Three of his 

vessels laden with corn for Rochelle were snapped 

up by the Dunkirk privateers within sight of the 

English coast. 3 The ships which remained were full of sick 

men, and in urgent need of repair. The fire-ships were not 

ready. There were not enough provisions on board 

to enable the fleet to stay long at Rochelle, even if it 

returned at once. Although the ships were in want of water, 

Denbigh dared not send his men on shore, lest they should run 

away from so unpopular a service. Before this combination of 

difficulties even Charles was compelled to give way, and orders 

were despatched to Denbigh to refit his squadron, but to remain 

in England till the whole available maritime force of the country 

could be got ready to accompany him. 4 

Such were the tidings pouring in upon Charles during the 
days when he was considering the answer which he would give 
Ma 26 to the Petition of Right. Unless he gave his consent 
The King's to that, he would never touch a penny of the sub- 
about 1 the* sidies, and without the subsidies the relief of Rochelle 

lon> was absolutely hopeless. Everything combined to 
make him anxious to assent to the petition, if he could do it 
without sacrificing the authority which he believed to be justly 
his. The one point which still appeared necessary to him to 

1 Fielding to Buckingham, May 20 ; Woodward to Windebank, May 21, 
J. P. Dom. civ. 34, 47. Contarini to the Doge, May . Ven. Tran- 

tcripts, K. 0. 

2 Denbigh to Buckingham, May 27, S. P. Dom. cv. 29. 

3 The Council to Buckingham, May 30, Rushworth, \. 587. 

4 The letters of Denbigh and Coke containing these details will be 
found in S. P. Dom. cv. and cvi. 


guard was the right of committing men to prison in special 
cases without showing cause. 

In the face of past events, the Commons had reasonably 
decided that this could not be. Charles naturally thought 
otherwise. We need not suppose that he nourished any violent 
or unfair intentions. He would doubtless represent to himself 
that he wanted no more than the power of intervening in special 
emergencies for the good of his people, and enough had passed 
in the two Houses to make it possible for him to imagine that 
he would still be able to have his way. The Lords had distinctly 
spoken of his prerogative as something untouched by the peti- 
tion, and even the Commons had declared that they had no 
intention of encroaching upon it. 1 A hypocritical prince would 
perhaps have been content with this would have assented to 
the petition and have tacitly reserved for himself the right of 
breaking it afterwards. But Charles's hypocrisy was not often 
of this deliberate kind. He usually deceived, when he did 
deceive, rather by reticence and concealment than by open 
falsehood. As soon, therefore, as the petition was agreed to 
by the Peers, and before it had been formally presented to him, 
he summoned the judges into his presence. 

The question he asked them was ' whether in no case whatso- 

verthe King may not commit a subject without showing a cause.' 

Their answer was delivered the next day. " We are 

The King s ' 

questions to of opinion," they said, "that by the general rule 

the Judges. , , , , I . i , , 

. . of the law the cause of commitment by his Majesty 

May 27. J J - j 

their ought to be shown ; yet some cases may require such 

secrecy that the King may commit a subject without 
showing the cause, for a convenient time." In other words, 
the judges held that they would still have the power of remand- 
ing an accused person. 

That such a question should have been asked can surprise 
no one who has attended carefully to the debates in the House 
of Lords. The idea that the petition in this respect could not 
be literally carried out was one which had occurred even to 
many of those who were prepared to recommend its adoption as 
it stood. 

1 far!. Hut. ii. 347. 


The King's second question was of more doubtful wisdom. 

He asked ' whether in case a habeas corpus be brought, and 

a warrant from the King without any general or 

second mg special cause returned, the judges ought to deliver 

lon ' him before they understood the cause from the 
King?' Such a question answered in the negative would 
imply that, as in the case of the last autumn, the judges ought 
to await the King's announcement of the cause, however long 
it might suit him to withhold it. 

The judges answered cautiously. " Upon a habeas corpus" 
they said, "brought for one committed by the King, if the 
May 30. cause be not specially or generally returned, so as the 
The judges' Court may take knowledge thereof, the party ought 
answer. by the general rule of law to be delivered. But if the 
case be such that the same requireth secrecy and may not 
presently be disclosed, the Court in discretion may forbear to 
deliver the prisoner for a convenient time, to the end the Court 
may be advertised of the truth thereof." 

Charles was evidently dissatisfied with this reply. In plain 
English, it meant that the judges might grant a remand at their 
discretion, but that the length of the remand was not to depend 
upon the King's pleasure. So far the decision of the judges 
was in consonance with the rules of common sense. As had 
been pointed out again and again, cases would arise in which 
criminals at large would escape from justice if they knew 
on what charge their confederates had been arrested. But 
was the decision in consonance with the Petition ' of Right ? 
The third Charles anxiously put the question ' whether, if the 
question. King grant the Commons' petition, he did not 
thereby conclude himself from committing or restraining a 
subject for any time or cause whatsoever, without showing a 
cause.' The answer of the judges was that he did 

May 31. ! 

The third not. " Every law," they explained, " after it is made, 
hath his exposition, and so hath this petition ; and 
the answer must have an exposition as the case in the nature 
thereof shall require to stand with justice, which is to be left to 
the courts of justice to determine, which cannot be discerned 
until such case shall happen ; and althjugh the petition Le 


granted there is no fear of conclusion as is intimated in the 
question." l 

The day after the last reply was given in was Whit Sunday, 

a day spent as busily by the King as Good Friday had been 

spent by the House of Commons. At the council 

June i. L * 

The council table the whole question of the petition was discussed, 
te ' and the forms of answer drawn up by Heath to suit 
every possible contingency were doubtless laid before the board. 
Of these forms 2 there was probably only one which, to anv 
extent, suited the exigencies of Charles's position, 
suggested " Since both the Lords and Commons," it was pro- 
posed that the King should say, "have severally, with 
dutiful respect to us, declared their intentions not to lessen our 
just power or prerogative as their sovereign, we do as freely 
declare our clear intention no way to impeach the just liberty 
of our subjects ; and therefore, this right undoubtedly being so 
happily settled between us and our people, which we trust shall 
ever continue, we do freely grant that this petition shall in all 
points be duly observed." 

By these words the petition would become the law of the 
land, especially if the old words of Norman French, " Soit droit 
fait comme est desire" had been added. The claim to special 
powers would still have been maintained, but by the use of the 
word ' prerogative ' Heath not only borrowed the expression 
of the House of Commons itself, but placed the King's 
claim under the special guardianship of the judges, who 
were constantly accustomed to decide on the extent of the 

It may be that Charles shrank from subjecting his authority 
to the decision of the judges. It may be that he had little 
taste for a clear and definite restriction upon his powers. The 
day before, too, had been spent in Buckingham's company, 3 

1 Ellis, ser. 2, iii. 250. The original copy of the questions and answers 
is in Har grave MSS. 27, fol. 97. 

* The first one in S. P. Dom. cv. 95. Others will be found in this and 
the following papers. 

* Contarini's Despatch, June -. 


and Buckingham had no wish to see the King give way. The 
form finally adopted, with the full consent of the Privy Council, 1 
Answer united all the objections it is possible to conceive, 
agreed on. "The King willeth," so it was determined that the 
Lord Keeper should speak, " that right be done according to 
the laws and customs of the realm ; and that the statutes be 
put in due execution, that his subjects may have no cause to 
complain of any wrongs or oppressions contrary to their just 
rights and liberties, to the preservation whereof he holds him- 
self in conscience as well obliged as of his prerogative." 2 

Such an answer meant nothing at all. The petition was 
not even mentioned. It was Charles's old offer of confirming 
its worth- tne statutes whilst refusing the interpretation placed 
kssness. upon them by the Commons. Its words breathed an 
entirely different spirit from the questions to the judges. The 
King no longer asks for a limited power to meet special emer- 
gencies, which Bristol and Wentworth, if not Eliot and Coke, 
would have been willing to grant him, but he throws back not 
merely the question of imprisonment, but every question which 
the petition professed to answer, into the uncertain mazes of 
his own arbitrary will. If nothing better than this was to be 
had, the Commons had toiled in vain. 

The next morning the Peers and Commons were in the 

King's presence in the House of Lords. " Gentlemen," he 

said, " I am come here to perform my duty. I 

June a. ' * 

The answer think no man can think it long, since I have not 
taken so many days in answering the petition as ye 
spent weeks in framing it ; and I am come hither to show you 
that, as well in formal things as essential, I desire to give you 
as much content as in me lies." Then, after a few words from 
the Lord Keeper, the answer agreed upon the day before was 

When this answer was read the next morning in the 
Commons, Eliot, representing the general dissatisfaction, moved 

1 The part taken by the Council is gathered from the subsequent de- 
bates in the House of Lords. 
* Lords' Journals, iii. 835. 


that its consideration should be postponed till Friday, June 6. 1 
junc 3 . He na d, however, something more to say than 

sideration tnat The hreacn w i tn tne Kin g against which he 
postponed. h ac j struggled so long seemed now inevitable. But 
was it really the King who was to blame ? Eliot must have 

known at least as well as we can know how Bucking- 
Bucking- . .,, , t r i 

ham's part ham had been the soul of the opposition to the 
petition in the House of Lords, and how he haa 
struggled to the last to make it meaningless ; and he must have 
suspected, if he did not know,, that the last unsatisfactory 
answer had been dictated by the favourite. 2 If this were so, 
Eliot may well have thought that the time was come when 
the legal claims on which the Commons had been hitherto 
standing must be reinforced with other arguments, reaching far 
more widely than any which that Parliament had yet heard. 
He would again stand forward as the Eliot of 1626. Subsidies 
must be refused if they were to be refused at all not merely 
because the King's part of the bargain, tacitly made, had rot 
been fulfilled, but because, as the last Parliament had declared, 
they would be utterly wasted it they were to pass through 
Buckingham's hands. What danger he might draw on his own 
head, Eliot recked nothing. Like the great Scottish reformer, 
he was one who ' never feared the face of any man.' As he 
spoke he felt within him the voice of an offended nation 
struggling for utterance. 3 

1 Nicholas's Notes. This, with the King's answer, and a short note of 
Eliot's second speech, is all that Nicholas gives us between May 26 and 
June 6. The invaluable Harleian report, too, deserts us at May 27 ; so 
that we are by no means so well informed about these later proceedings 
as about the earlier ones. 

2 Whether it was so or not, I cannot say ; but the contrast between 
the spirit of the questions to the judges, and that of the answer adopted by 
the Council where Buckingham was supreme, is very suspicious. 

* See Mr. Forster's remarks on this speech (Sir J. Eliot, ii. 78). On 
one point I am almost inclined to go beyond him. He thinks that Eliot's 
' fearless spirit could discern the safety that lay beyond the danger,' as if 
he had expected to frighten the King into giving way. I fancy that, 
judging ty past experience, he could have little hope of this, and if he 
spoke from a sheer sense of duty, without expectation of success, his con^ 
duct is all the more admirable. 


He began by reminding his hearers that they met there as 
the great Council of the King, and that it was their duty to 
,,.. f , inform him of all that it was well for him to know. 

Eliot on the 

state of the That duty it was now for them to fulfil. At home 
and abroad everything was in confusion. At home 
true religion was discountenanced. Abroad their friends had 
On foreign been overpowered, their enemies had prospered, 
i-oiicy. Rash and ill-considered enterprises had ended in 
disaster. In Elizabeth's days it -had not been so. She had 
built her prosperity upon a close alliance with France and the 
Netherlands. Now France was divided within herself, and 
driven into war with England. To this French war the 
Palatinate had been sacrificed. Such a policy might well be 
regarded rather ' a conception of Spain than begotten here 
with us.' 

At these words Sir Humphrey May rose to interrupt the 
speaker. Knowing as he did how closely this French war was 
May 'sinter- entwined round the King's heart, he was perhaps 
ruption. anxious to check words which would only widen the 
breach which he so much deprecated. But the House was in 
no mood to listen to a Privy Councillor. Eliot was encouraged 
with cries of " Go on ! " from every side. " If he goes on," 
said May, "I hope that I may myself go out." ''Begone! 
begone ! " was the reply from every bench ; but the spell of 
the great orator was upon him, and he could not tear himself 

When Eliot resumed he was prepared to try a higher flight 
than even he had hitherto ventured on. He had no longer to 
speak merely of disaster and mismanagement, which might be 
plausibly at least accounted for by the niggardliness of the 
Commons. Striking at the very heart of the foreign policy of 
Eliot on the tne Government, he asked why the moment when 
French war. Denmark had been overpowered at Lutter had been 
chosen tor the commencement of a fresh quarrel with France. 
Was it credible that this had been advised by the Privy 
Council ? With full knowledge doubtless how completely the 
French war had been the act of Buckingham, with less know- 
kdge, it may be, how completely it had also been the act of the 


King, he turned upon the councillors present, perhaps specially 

upon May. " Can those now," he said, " that express their 

troubles at the hearing of these things, and have so 

Asks who . 

had advised often told us in this place of their knowledge in the 
conjunctures and disjunctures of affairs, say they 

advised in this ? Was this an act of Council, Mr. Speaker ? I 

have more charity than to think it ; and unless they make a 

confession of themselves, I cannot believe it" 

The main error in policy, if it was but an error, having been 

thus exposed, Eliot turned to the mismanagement of the war. 
The expedition to Cadiz, the expedition to Rhe, the 

Misconduct ' v ' 

in military latest failure at Rochelle, he painted in the gloomiest 
colours. Buckingham's name was not mentioned, 
but it must have been branded in letters of flame upon the 
mind of every man who sat listening there. At home, too, the 
Court, the Church, the Bar, the Bench, the Navy, were handed 
over to men ignorant and corrupt ; the Exchequer was empty, 
the crown lands sold, the King's jewels and plate pawned. 
" What poverty," he cried, " can be greater ? What necessity 
so great ? What perfect English heart is not almost dissolved 
into sorrow for the truth ? For the oppression of the subject, 
which, as I remember, is the next particular I proposed, it needs 
no demonstration. The whole kingdom is a proof. And for 
the exhausting of our treasures, that oppression speaks it What 
waste of our provisions, what consumption of our ships, what 
destruction of our men have been ! Witness the journey to 
Algiers ! Witness that with Mansfeld ! Witness that to Cadiz ! 
Witness the next ! ' Witness that to Rhe ! Witness the last ! 
And I pray God we shall never have more such witnesses. 
Witness likewise the Palatinate ! Witness Denmark ! Witness 
the Turks ! Witness the Dunkirkers ! Witness all ! What 
losses we have sustained ! How we are impaired in mu- 
nition, in ships, in men ! It has no contradiction. We were 
never so much weakened, nor had less hope now to be 

Such was the terrible catalogue of grievances flung forth, 

1 This contemptuous reference is to Willoughby's fleet, which only 
reached the Bay of Biscay. 


one after another, in words which pierced deeply into the hearts 
of those who heard. To the end Buckingham's name had not 
been mentioned. Whatever Eliot's secret thoughts might have 
been he said nothing of reviving the impeachment of the un- 
popular minister. He asked that a Remonstrance 

A Remon- * 

strance to be a statement of grievances, as we should now say 
might be drawn up, in order that the King might be 
informed what the Commons thought of his policy. 

There were many among Eliot's hearers who shrank from 
so bold a step. Some thought it would be better to ask for a 
Feeling of fuller answer to the petition. Sir Henry Marten sug- 
the House. g es ted that Eliot's speech proceeded from disaffection 
to his Majesty, whilst others looked upon it as an angry retort 
upon the King's answer. Eliot rose to explain. So far from 
his words having been called forth by the King's answer, he and 
others had long ago formed a resolution to call attention to these 
grievances when a fit opportunity occurred ; and the truth of 
this statement, which doubtless referred to the line taken by 
Eliot at the private meeting before the opening of the session, 1 
was attested by Wentworth and Phelips. In spite of all that 
had been said, Eliot's proposal was adopted, and the next day 
was fixed for the discussion of the Remonstrance. 2 

Even as an answer to the King's reply, it might fairly be 
argued that Eliot's proposal was well-timed. The King had 
Bearing of claimed to be possessed of special powers above the 
the proposal. j aw> f QT ^g honour and safety of the realm. Such 
powers he had wielded for more than three years, and the Re- 
monstrance would tell him what had come of it. 

Charles fancied himself strong enough to drive back the 

rising tide. Believing, as he did, that all the disasters which 

had happened had arisen from the reluctance of the 

June 4. 

The King Commons to vote him money, he now sent to tell 
thTRemon^ them that the session would come to an end in a 
week, that he had given an answer to their petition 
' full of justice and grace,' and would give no other. They 
were therefore seriously to proceed to business, without enter- 

1 See page 230. * Forster, Sir J. Eliot, ii. 79. 


taining new matters ; in other words, to pass the Subsidy Bill, 
and let the Remonstrance alone. 1 

The House was now in Eliot's hands. The silence to 
which Wentworth was self-condemned since the failure of 

his conciliatory efforts, was the measure of the 
refuses to downward progress which Charles had been making 

since the days of the leadership of the member for 
Yorkshire. After listening to a report from the Committee 
of Trade, 2 strongly condemnatory of the cruel treatment to 
which shipowners and mariners had been subjected when 
pressed into the King's service, the House, taking not the 
slightest notice of the Royal message, went into committee on 
the Remonstrance. 3 

The next morning a sharper message was delivered from 

Tune t ^ ie King, positively forbidding the House to proceed 

sharper with any new business which might spend greater 

from the time than remained before the end of the session, or 

which might ' lay any scandal or aspersion upon the 
State, Government, or ministers thereof.' 

It was a terrible awakening for the leaders of the Commons; 
Distress of the more painful because, in their simple loyalty, 
the House. t k e y wou i ( j not O p en their eyes to its real meaning. 
If they could have fully realised the fact that their King was 
against them; that even without Buckingham's intervention, 
Charles would have closed his ears to their prayers ; that 
Charles, if he was not the originator, was the most obstinate 
defender of all that had been done, they might have nerved 
themselves with pain and sorrow to the conflict before 
them. It was because they could not see this that a feel- 
ing of helplessness came over them. The King, they earnestly 
attempted to believe, was good and wise ; but he was beyond 
their reach. Between him and them stood the black cloud 
cf Buckingham's presence, impenetrable to their wishes, and 

1 Par!. Hist. ii. 388. 

" Commons' Journals, i. 909 ; and more fully in HarL MSS. 6800, 

fol. 353- 

* Except from a few words in Nethersole's letter (S. P. Dom. cvi. 55) 
I know nothing of t!;is debate. 

:628 A WEEPING HOUSE. 303 

distorting every ray of light which was suffered to reach the 
place in which Charles remained in seclusion. Before this grim 
shadow, almost preternatural in its all-pervading strength, 
bearded men became as children. Sobs and tears burst forth 
from every side of the House. 

With quivering voice and broken words Phelips strove to 
Pheiipsde- gi ye utterance to the thoughts within him. There 
mfs'foituneof was ntt ^ e hope, he said ;. for he could not but re- 
the House, member with what moderation the House had 
proceeded. " Former times," he said, mournfully, " have 
given wounds enough to the people's liberty. We came hithei 
full of wounds, and we have cured what we could. Yet what 
is the return of all but misery and desolation ? What did we 
aim at but to have served his Majesty, and to have done that 
which would have made him great and glorious ? If this be a 
fault, then we are all criminous." It was their duty, he pro- 
ceeded, to give advice to the King. If they were to be stopped 
in doing this, let them cease to be a council. " Let 
w to us presently," he concluded by saying, "inform his 
go home. Majesty that our firm intents were to show him in 
what danger the commonwealth and state of Christendom 
stands ; and therefore, since our counsels are no better accept- 
able, let us beg his Majesty's leave every man to depart home, 
and pray to God to divert those judgments and dangers: which 
too fearfully and imminently hang over our heads." 

Perhaps it would have been better, if anything could have 
been better with such a king as Charles, that Phelips's proposal 
should have been adopted on the spot. But whatever reticence 
the leaders may have deliberately imposed upon themselves, 
there was too much angry feeling against Buckingham to be 
long suppressed. Eliot pointed out that there had been mis- 
representation to the King, as was especially shown in the 
clause of the message forbidding them to lay aspersions on the 
Government. They had no such intention. " It is said also," 
he added, "as if we cast some aspersions on his Majesty's 
ministers. I am confident no minister, how dear soever, 

The sentence was never ended. Finch, the Speaker, 


started from his chair. He, too, felt the weight of the issues 
E1Jot with which the moment was fraught. " There is 

stopped by command laid upon me," he said, with tears in his 

the Speaker. . ' 

eyes, " to interrupt any that should go about to lay 
an aspersion on the ministers of State." 

What Eliot meant to say can never be known. He had 
too much self-command to make it likely that he was going 
beyond the position he had assumed in the former debate. 
Probably he was but about to express an opinion that no mi- 
nister could stand higher with his Majesty than the needs of 
his subjects. But the ill-timed intervention of Finch had done 
more than Eliot's tongue could have done. It was one more 
proof how impossible it was for the Commons to reach the 

Eliot sat down at once. If he was not to speak freely, he 

would not speak at all. What Eliot expressed by his silence, 

Digges expressed in words : " Unless we may speak 

Digges de- , , f. . ,. 

ciares their of these things in Parliament, let us arise and be 

useless." 18 gone, or sit still and do nothing." Then there was a 

long pause. At last Rich rose to protest against the 

Rich wishes ,...., _ ._ .. . . 

10 consult policy of silence. It was most safe for themselves, 
>e Lords. ^ e sa j^ ^j. not f or t h e i r constituents. Let them go 
to the Lords and ask them to join in the Remonstrance. 

In the despondent mood in which the members were, there 
were not wanting a few who thought Eliot had been to blame. 
It was that terrible speech of his on the 3rd, 1 they said, which 
had done the mischief. The House would not hear of such 
an exp'anation. From the first day of the session, it was 
resolutely declared, no member had been guilty of undutiful 
speech. Others again essayed to speak. Old Coke, with the 
tears running down his furrowed face, stood up, faltered, and 
sat down again. At last it was resolved to go into committee 
to consider what was to be done. 

Finch, thus released from his duties, asked permis- 

The Speaker . ^u TT T-u 

leaves the sion to leave the House. The permission was not 
refused. With streaming eyes he hurried to the King 
to tell what he had heard and seen. To him too, and to all real 
1 See page 299. 

t628 THE DUKE NAMED. 305 

friends of the prerogative, the breach between the Crown and 
so thoroughly loyal a House must have been inexpressibly 

The impression left by the Speaker's departure was that a 
dissolution was imminent. Men waxed bolder with the sense 
Debate in of coming danger. "The King," said Kirton, "is 
mittee. as good a prince as ever reigned. It is the enemies 
to the commonwealth that have so prevailed with him, therefore 
let us aim now to discover them ; and I doubt not but God 
will send us hearts, hands, and swords to cut the throats of the 
enemies of the King and State." Wentworth, rejecting Rich's 
proposal, moved to go straight to the King with the Remon- 
strance. Were they not the King's counsellors ? 

Coke was the next to rise, his voice no longer choked by 
his emotions. He was about to say that which Eliot had 
refrained from saying. He quoted precedent after precedent 
in which the Commons had done the very thing that the King 
had warned them against doing. Great men, Privy Councillors, 
the King's prerogative itself, had once not been held to be 
beyond the scope of Parliamentary inquiry. " What shall we 
do?" he cried; "let us palliate no longer. If we do, God 
Coke names will wot prosper us. I think the Duke of Bucks is 
the Duke. fa Q cause of aL our miseries, and till the King be 
informed thereof, we shall never go out with honour, or sit with 
honour here. That man is the grievance of grievances. Let 
us set down the causes of all our disasters, and they will all 
reflect upon him." Let them not go to the Lords. Let them 
go straight to the King. It was not the King, but the Duke, 
who had penned the words, ' We require you not to meddle 
with State government, or the ministers thereof.' Did not 
the King once sanction the principle which this message con- 
demned ? Did he not, as Prince of Wales, take part as a Peer 
of Parliament in the proceedings against Lord Chancellor 
Bacon and Lord Treasurer Middlesex ? 

Amidst expressions of approbation from every side, Coke 
sat down. At last the word which was on all lips had been 
spoken. Then, as a contemporary letter- writer expressed it. 
'as when one good hound recovers the scent, the rest come in 



with a full cry, so they pursued it, and every one came on 
home, and laid the blame where they thought the fault was.' 
Selden but put into shape what Coke had suggested. " All 
this time," he said, "we have cast a mantle on what 
t^me' n was done last Parliament ; but now, being driven 
ham k ' ng again to look on that man, let us proceed with that 
which was then well begun, and let the charge be 
renewed that was last Parliament against him, to which he 
made an answer, but the particulars were sufficient that we 
might demand judgment on that answer only." ' 

As Charles had made Wentworth's leadership impossible, 
so, it seemed, he would now make Eliot's leadership impossible. 
The mere representation of the evils of the State seemed tame 
after what had taken place that day. The remaining heads 
of the Remonstrance were hurried over, and just as a final 
clause, condemnatory of Buckingham, was being put to the 
vote, the Speaker reappeared with a message from the King, 
The Kin ordering them to adjourn till the following morning, 
stops the In doubt and wonder the members departed to 


their homes. 

It was but eleven o'clock when the debate that morning was 
forcibly interrupted. It may be that if the words spoken in 
the Commons had reached the King alone, the Houses would 
have met the next day only to be dissolved. But the Coin- 
Debate in rnons were not alone. In the other House a message 
the Lords. f rom trie King demanding an adjournment had been 
interpreted as ominous of a dissolution. Bristol at once inter- 
Bristol pro- posed the weight of his authority. It was indiscretion, 
^e^ivaTion ^ e sa 'd> to s P ea ^ ^ suc ^ a thing as a dissolution from 
io the king, conjecture. If it was true that the Privy Council 
had advised it, the Lords were greater than the Privy Council. 
They were the great council of the kingdom, and it was for 
them to lay before the King the true state of the kingdom. 
There was danger from Spain, danger from France, danger from 
the Dunkirk privateers. " The whole Christian world," he said, 

1 Par!. Hist. ii. 401. Kushworth, i. 605-610. Meade to Stuteville, 
June 15, Comt and Times, i. 359. Meade is plainly mistaken in assigning 
Coke's sp<; *\ lo the 4lh. 


" is enemy to us. We have not in all the Christian world but one 
port to put a boat into, Rochelle. We have been like the broken 
staff of Egypt to all that have relied upon us. The distress of our 
friends lies before us, the power and malice of our enemies. 
Now, if we return home, when God had put it into the King's 
heart to call a Parliament, what disadvantage will it be unto 
us when our adversaries shall observe that the King and his 
people have three times met, and departed with no good ! 
Whosoever shall say that a monarch can 1 be fed by projects 
and imaginations, knows not of what he is speaking." ' Bristol 
concluded by moving for a Select Committee to 'represent 
unto the King the true state of the kingdom, to be humble 
suitors unto him to let things pass as they have done in the 
times of his ancestors. To be likewise suitors unto the King, 
that 2 if there have been any carriage of any private persons 
displeasing to him, he will not make a sudden end of this 
Parliament.' 3 

Although, from motives of respect to Charles, Bristol's 
The Lord motion was not formally adopted, the Lord Keeper 
Ordered to was directed to acquaint the King with the feeling of 

acquaint the t h e HoUSC. 4 
King with 

the feeling of Even Charles, self-willed as he was, could not ven- 
charies * ture to s ^nd up against both Houses. Thanking the 
withdraws Lords for the respect which they had shown him by 

from his 

ground. refusing to appoint the committee which Bristol had 
proposed, he assured them that he was as fully aware as they 
were of the dangers of the kingdom a message which drew 
from Essex the demand that Bristol's motion for a committee 
should be put again, and from Bristol himself the expression of 
a hope that they would at least petition the King not to put a 
sudden end to the Parliament. 5 

By the Lower House, too, a message had been received 

1 The words after " imaginations " are added by conjecture. 

2 The word ' that ' is not in the MS. 

3 The report ends at " carriage." The rest of the sentence is filled ia 
fri^m Bristol's speech of the next day. 

4 Ehin^s Notes. s Ibid. 

X 2 


qualifying the one which had given such offence the day before. 
The King, according to this explanation, had no wish to debar 
the Commons from their right of inquiry, but wished merely 
to prohibit them from raking up old offences by looking into 
counsel which had been tendered to him in past times. The 
explanation was gravely accepted. " I am now as full of joy,' 1 
The Com- sa '^ Eliot, " as yesterday of another passion." But 
mons go on the Commons went steadily on with their Remon- 

with t^e Re- .... 

munstranee. strance. On the morning of the yth they had gone 
June 7 . so f ar as t o i n q u i re j n to the levy of Dulbier's German 
horse, intended, as one member said, ' to cut our throats or else 
to keep us at their obedience.' l 

The House of Lords again intervened. Bishop Harsnet, 
the author of the Lords' propositions, from which the contro- 
intervention versy had by this time drifted so far, now stood up 
of the Lords. j n d e f ence o f the Petition of Right. Hateful to the 
Calvinists on account of his bold attacks made in early life 
upon the extreme consequences of their cherished doctrine of 
predestination, he was no less distrusted by Laud for his refusal 
to entertain the extreme consequences of the opinions which 
they held in common. The answer to the petition, he said, 
was full of grace, but it did not come home or give the satis- 
faction which was expected. Let the Commons be asked to 
join in a petition to the King for another answer. Williams 
supported the proposal. It was rumoured, he said, that the 
answer was not the King's, but had been voted by the Council. 2 
" I do not see," he added, " in all the learning I have, that 
this is at all applicatory to the petition or any part of it." " I 
conceive," said Bristol, " the answer to be rather a waiving 
of the petition than any way satisfactory to it I believe that 
those distractions and fears which since have sprung 

The King 

asked for a amongst us took their original from that answer." 

tott-e"* The House was unanimous in its desire for a clearer 

reply. Even Buckingham was unable to oppose 

himself to the current. The Commons, as soon as they v ere 

1 far/. Hist. ii. 406. Nil-holes'* Notes. 

2 "An assembly which I reverence," is the periphrasis. 


invited, gladly gave their consent, and a deputation, with 
Buckingham at its head, was sent to ask Charles for a cleat and 
satisfactory answer to the petition. 1 They returned with tha 
news that the King would bring his own reply to their request at 
four o'clock. 

At four o'clock, therefore, on that eventful day, Charles 
took his seat upon the throne. The Commons came troop- 
Charies ing to the bar, ignorant whether they were to hear 
pS^c?* the sentence of dissolution or not. They had not 
Right. long to wait. " The answer I have already given 
you," said Charles, " was made with so good deliberation, and 
approved by the judgment of so many wise men, that I could 
not have imagined but that it should have given you full satis- 
faction ; but, to avoid all ambiguous interpretations, and to show 
you that there is no doubleness in my meaning, I am willing 
to please you in words as well as in substance. Read your 
petition ; and you shall have such an answer as I am sure will 
please you." Then after it had been read, as the shouts of 
applause rang out loud and clear from the Commons, the 
clerk pronounced the usual words of approval, ' Soit droit fait 
comme est desire? 

Charles had yet a few more words in reserve. " This," he 
said, " I am sure is full ; yet no more than I granted you on 
my first answer ; for the meaning of that was to confirm all 
your liberties ; knowing, according to your own protestations, 
that you neither mean nor can hurt my prerogative. And I 
assure you that my maxim is, that the people's liberties strengthen 
the King's prerogative, and that the King's prerogative is to 
defend the people's liberties. You see how ready I have shown 
myself to satisfy your demands, so that I have done my part ; 
wherefore if the Parliament have not a happy conclusion, the 
sin is yours ; I am free from it." 2 

Once more the acclamations of the Commons rose. The 
General joy. shout was taken up without as the news spread from 
street to street. The steeples of the City churches rang out 

1 Risings Notes. Lords' Journals, iii. 842, 
* Lords' Journals, iii. 843. 


their merriest peals. As the dusk deepened into darkness 
bonfires were lighted up amidst rejoicing crowds. Since the 
day when Charles had returned from Spain no such signs of 
public happiness had been seen. 1 

1 Nethersole to the titular Queen of Bohemia, June 7 ; Conway to 
Coke, June 9, S. P. Dam. cvi. 55, 71. 



WHATEVER interpretation might still be placed by the King on 
the concession which he had made, it was undeniable that the 
June 7. House of Commons had gained a great advantage, 
importance ft might still be doubtful whether, in case of neces- 
petuion. sity, the King might not break the law, but it could 
never again be doubtful what the law was. 

The Petition of Right has justly been deemed by constitutional 
historians as second in importance only to the Great Charter 
Comparison itself. It circumscribed the monarchy of Henry VIII. 
Great the an( ^ Elizabeth as the Great Charter circumscribed 
Charter. the monarchy of Henry II. Alike in the twelfth and 
in the sixteenth century the kingly power had been established 
on the ruins of an aristocracy bent upon the nullification cf 
government in England. Alike in the thirteenth and in the 
seventeenth century, the kingly power was called to account 
as soon as it was used for other than national ends. Like the 
Great Charter, too. the Petition of Right was the beginning, not 
the end, of a revolution. 

So far as in them lay the Commons had stripped Charles 
of that supreme authority which he believed himself to hold. 
Their action had, however, been purely negative. 
kuThorhy in Somewhere or another such authority must exist 
ibeyance. a b O ve all positive law, capable of setting it aside 
when it comes in conflict with the higher needs of the nation. 
Charles was right enough in thinking that the Commons were 


consciously or unconsciously tending to seize upon this autho- 
rity themselves ; but as yet they had not done so. They had 
cried, as it were, The King is dead ! They had not cried, Long 
live the King ! The old order had received a deadly blow, 
but it had not given place to the new. Many a stormy dis- 
cussion, many a sturdy blow, would be needed before the Com- 
mons seated themselves in the place of the King. 

In every nation supreme authority tends to rest in the hands 
of those who best respond to the national demand for guidance. 
Would the House of Commons be able to offer such guid- 
ance ? Could it represent the wishes, the wisdom, the strength, 
it may be the prejudices, of the nation, as Elizabeth had repre- 
sented them ? At least it could throw into disrepute those 
theories upon which the King's claim to stand above the 
laws was founded, and set forth its policy and its wishes so 
June 9 . as to be understood of all men. On June 9, Pym 
impeach- carried up to the Lords the charges which had been 

ment of l . . 

Manwaring. gradually collected against Manwaring, and on the 
same day the Commons went steadily on with their Remon- 
strance, as if nothing had happened to divert them from their 

It was certain that Manwaring would find no favour in 
the House of Lords. More clearly than many others whose 
theological opinions coincided with his own he had allowed 
political speculation to follow in the train of doctrinal thought. 
The notion that the clergy had an independent existence apart 
from the rest of the community easily led to the conclusion that 
that community had no rights which it could plead against the 
King, by whom the clergy were protected. The theory that the 
King had a divine right to obedience apart from the laws of 
the realm was one which had failed to find support amongst the 
lay Peers in the discussions on the Petition of Right. 

June 14. 

Sentence Manwaring was therefore condemned to imprison- 
agamsthim. mcnt dur j ng fae pleasure of the House, to pay a fine 
of i,ooo/., to acknowledge his offence, to submit to suspension 
from preaching at Court for the remainder of his life, and from 
preaching elsewhere for three years. He was further forbidden 
to hold any ecclesiastical or civil office, and the King was to be 


asked to issue a proclamation calling in all copies of his book 
in order that they might be burnt. 1 

That Manwdring should be impeached and condemned 
was a matter of course. His offence and his punishment are of 
little interest to us now ; but it is of great interest to know 
what answer his challenge provoked, what political principle was 
advocated by the House of Commons in reply to the political 
principle which it condemned. 

The accusation had been entrusted to Pym, and by Pym's 

mouth the Commons spoke. "The best form of government," 

he said, " is that which doth actuate and dispose 

Pym s reply 

to Man- every part and member of a State to the common 
dar a n tfon of good ; and as those parts give strength and orna- 
ment to the whole, so they receive from it again 
strength and protection in their several stations and degrees. 
If this mutual relation and intercourse be broken, the whole 
frame will quickly be dissolved and fall in pieces ; and instead 
of this concord and interchange of support, whilst one part 
seeks to uphold the old form of government, and the other part 
to introduce a new, they will miserably consume and devour 
one another. Histories are full of the calamities of whole 
states and nations in such cases. It is true that time must 
needs bring about some alterations, and every alteration is a 
step and degree towards a dissolution. Those things only are 
eternal which are constant and uniform. Therefore it is ob- 
served by the best writers on this subject, that those common- 
wealths have been most durable and perpetual which have 
often reformed and recomposed themselves according to their 
first institution and ordinance, for by this means they repair 
the breaches and counterwork the ordinary and natural effects 
of time." 2 

What then was the first institution and ordinance of the 

1 Par/. Hist. ii. 388, 410. 

2 Bacon has the same conservatism as Pym, but more appreciation of 
the need of reform. " It is good also not to try experiments in States, 
except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident ; and well to beware 
that it be the reformation that draweth on the change, and not the desire 
of change that pretendeth the reformation." Essay on Innovations. 


laws of England ? Pym's answer was ready. " There are plain 
footsteps," he said, "ot those laws in the government of the 
Saxons. They were of that vigour and force as to overlive 
the Conquest ; nay, to give bounds and limits to the Con- 
queror. ... It is true they have been often broken, but they 
have been often confirmed by charters of Kings and by Acts 
of Parliaments. But the petitions of the subjects upon which 
those charters and Acts were founded, were ever Petitions 
of Right, demanding their ancient and due liberties, not suing 
for any new." 

A far nobler view this than Manwaring's. In the historical 
past of the English people lay the justification of its action in 
Superiority th 6 present. Beyond the precedents of the lawyer 
f his view. an( j t h e conclusions of the divine, the eye of the 
statesman rested on the continuity of responsibility in the 
nation for the mode in which it was governed. It may be that 
many things seem otherwise to us than they seemed to Pym, 
and that we should condemn actions which to him appeared 
worthy of all praise ; but our sympathies are nevertheless with 
Pym and not with Manwaring. If there were faults in the 
House of Commons, if there was a danger of the establishment 
of a self-seeking aristocracy in the place of a national govern- 
ment, it was not from Charles that the remedy was likely to 
come. Whatever justification might be put forth, Charles's 
assumption of power had been clearly revolutionary. To 
conduct war and to extort money in defiance of the nation was 
an act which had nothing in common with those acts which 
had been done by former sovereigns with the tacit assent of 
the nation. The root of the old constitution was the respon- 
sibility of the Crown to the nation, a responsibility which, it 
is true, was often enforced by violence and rebellion. Yet a 
view of the constitution which takes no account of those acts 
of violence is like a view of geology which takes no account of 
earthquakes and volcanoes. There was indeed a certain amount 
of unconscious insincerity in the legal arguments adduced on 
either side, which, though dealing with the compacts which sanc- 
tioned the results of force, yet shrank from the acknowledgment 
that the force itseK, the steady determination that a king who 


spoke for himself and acted for himself should not be permitted 
to reign, was part of that mass of custom and opinion which, 
varying in detail from age to age, but animated in every age by 
the same spirit, is, for brevity's sake, called the English con- 
stitution. To the spirit of this constitution the Tudor princes 
had, even in their most arbitrary moods, sedulously conformed. 
No rulers have ever been so careful to watch the temper of the 
nation as were Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. That the King 
was established by God Himself to think and act in opposition 
to the thoughts and acts which the nation deliberately chose 
to think best, was a new thing in England, and even when the 
King was right and the nation was wrong, it was a change for 
the worse. 

The Commons did their best to persuade themselves from 
time to time that every step taken in the wrong direction had 
been owing to the King's ministers rather than to himself ; but 
it was growing hard for them to close their eyes much longer 
, to the truth. A discovery was now made that Man- 
pan in the waring's sermons had been licensed for printing by 
M^nwaring's the King's special orders, and that too against Laud's 
remonstrances, for even Laud had warned him that 
many things in the book would be 'very distasteful to the 
people.' l 

In one respect Charles had gained his object by his accept 
Subsidies ance f the petition. As soon as it was ascertained 
voted. tnat j t was to j-jg em-oiled ijk e an y other statute, the 

Subsidy Bill was pushed on, and on the i6th was sent up to 
the Lords. 

Of the Remonstrance, however, Charles had not heard 
June 9. the last It is true that Selden's proposal for renew- 
sVrance e pro"" * n S the impeachment of Buckingham was quietly 
ceededwuh. dropped, but it was certain that the name of Buck- 
ingham would appear in the Remonstrance. All that Charles 

1 Lords' Journals, iii. 856. Manwaring's absolute appeal to first 
principles would probably not be agreeable to Laud, who preferred leaving 
such matters to the schools, and basing his demands upon the authority of 
established institutions. 


had gained was that the name would appear in a state- 
ment made to himself, not in an accusation addressed to the 

The King, in fact, had never understood the reasons which 
had induced the House, under Eliot's guidance, to prepare this 
Remonstrance. He had fancied that it was a mere weapon of 
offence intended to wrest from him a better answer to the 
petition, and certain to be let drop as soon as its purpose had 
been accomplished. He could not perceive how deeply the 
disasters of the years in which he had ruled England had im- 
pressed themselves upon the mind of the nation, and so far 
as he took account of those disasters at all he argued that they 
had resulted from the niggardliness of the Commons, not from 
the incapacity of his own ministers. 

On June n 1 the Remonstrance was finally brought into 
shape. First came the paragraphs relating to religion, including 
June ir. the inevitable demand for the full execution of the 
s^ran^e 6 " 10 " penal laws against the Cathodes and a special corn- 
voted, plaint against the commission which had been issued 
for compounding with recusants in the northern counties, of 
which Sir John Savile had been the leading member, and which 
had been warmly attacked by Wentworth. Still more 

Attack on ..... 

the Armi- bitter was the cry against Armmiamsm. The Calvm- 
istic preachers had not, it is true, been actually per- 
secuted. They had, however, been discountenanced. Books 
written by their opponents easily found a licenser. Books 
written by themselves were scanned more strictly. Laud and 
Neile were in high favour with the King, and those who adopted 
their opinions were on the sure road to promotion. Before long 
the high places of the Church would be occupied exclusively 
by men whose opinions were those of a minority of the clergy 
and of a still smaller minority of the laity. 

It is easy to see that these complaints were not without 

1 The debate in committee is given by Nicholas, and the adoption of 
the Remonstrance is in the Journals of the same day. Rushworth is 
clearly wrong in saying the charge against Buckingham was voted on the 
I3th. We here take leave of Nicholas, who gives nothing later than the 


foundation. It is easy to see, too, that the course of silencing 
the Arminians, suggested rather than advised by the Commons, 
would have been of little avail. But for the present the main 
stress of the petition was directed to another quarter. The 
whole history of the past three years was unrolled before the 
The Duke King, and, after a warm debate, the blame of all the 
blamed. mischief was laid upon the Duke. " The principal 
cause," so the House declared, " of which evils and dangers we 
conceive to be the excessive power of the Duke of Buckingham, 
and the abuse of that power ; l and we humbly submit unto 
your Majesty's excellent wisdom, whether it be safe for yourself 
or your kingdoms that so great a power as rests in him by sea 
and land should be in the hands of any one subject whatsoever. 
And as it is not safe, so sure we are it cannot be for your 
service ; it being impossible for one man to manage so many 
and weighty affairs of the kingdom as he hath undertaken 
besides the ordinary duties of those offices which he holds ; 
some of which, well performed, would require the time and 
industry of the ablest men, both in counsel and action, that 
your whole kingdom will afford, especially in these times of 
common danger. And our humble desire is further, that your 
excellent Majesty will be pleased to take into your princely 
consideration, whether, in respect the said Duke hath so abused 
his power, it be safe for your Majesty and your kingdom to 
continue him either in his great offices, or in his place of near- 
ness and counsel about your sacred person." 2 

The Commons had thus returned to the position which they 

had taken up at the close of the last session, as soon as it had 

become evident that the impeachment would not 

taken by the be allowed to take its course. They passed what in 

Commons. . . 111 ni / 

modern times would be called a vote of want ot 
confidence in Buckingham. They brought no criminal charges. 
They asked for no punishment But they demanded that the 
man under whose authority the things of which they complained 

1 These words were inserted after a proposal from Phelips that on'y 
the Duke's power, and not the abuse of his power, should be complained 
of. 2 Rushwort h t i. 619. 


had been done, should no longer be in a position to guide all 
England by his word. 

On minor points Charles was willing to gratify the Com- 
mons. He allowed his ministers to give out that he was ready 
to discountenance the Arminians, which he might easily do, as 
Laud and his friends entirely disclaimed the title. He can- 
celled the patent by which certain Privy Councillors had been 
empowered, before the meeting of Parliament, to consider the 
Charles win best way of raising money by irregular means, 1 and 
Bucking- up he announced that Dulbier should not bring his 
ham. German horse into England. 2 But he would not 

give up the Duke. To abandon Buckingham was to abandon 

Before the Remonstrance was presented to the King an 
event occurred which must have served to harden Charles in 

the belief that the movement against Buckingham 
and Budc- was nothing more than a decent veil for an outbreak 

of popular anarchy which if it were not checked 
might sweep away his throne and all else that he held sacred. 
Dr. Lambe, an astrologer and quack doctor, a man too, if 
rumour is to be believed, of infamous life, had been consulted 
by Buckingham, and was popularly regarded as the instigator 
of his nefarious designs. Things had now come to such a pass 
that nothing was too bad to be believed of the Duke. Men 
declared without hesitation that Buckingham had caused the 

failure of Denbigh's expedition to Rochelle, out of 

Wild stories _,, /,_ i* j -i 

told of the fear lest, if the town were relieved, a peace might 
follow. 3 His luxury, his immoralities, his bragging 
incompetence, once the theme of Eliot's rhetoric, were now 
sung in ballads passed from hand to hand. In these verses it 
was told how he had poisoned Hamilton, Southampton, Oxford, 
Lennox, and even King James himself ; how he had sat in a 
boat out of the way of danger, whilst his men were being 
slaughtered in the Isle of Rhe ; how he was indifferent to the 

ParL Hist. ii. 417 ; Lords' Journals, iii. 862. See p. 224. 

Rushworfh, i. 623. 

Contarini to the Doge, June , Ven, Transcripts, R. 0. 

lt>2'* DR. LAMBED MURDER. 319 

ravages of the Dunkirkers and to the ruin of the country, 1 
whilst he employed Dr. Lambe to corrupt by his love-charms 
the chastest women in England. Even at Cambridge the 
judicious Meade found himself treated with contempt for 
venturing to suggest that the Duke's faults arose from inca- 
pacity rather than from any settled purpose to betray the 
kingdom. 2 

Whilst such thoughts were abroad, Dr. Lambe stepped forth 

one evening from the Fortune Theatre. A crowd of London 

apprentices, ever ready for amusement or violence, 

June 13. 

Murder of gathered round him. hooting at him as the Duke's 
Dr. Lambe. ^^,\\ Fearing the worst, he paid some sailors to 
guard him to a tavern in Moorgate Street, where he supped. 
When he came out he found some of the lads still standing 
round the door, and imprudently threatened them, telling them 
'he would make them dance naked.' As he walked they 
followed his steps, the crowd growing denser every minute. In 
the Old Jewry he turned upon them with his sailors, and drove 
them off. The provocation thus given was too much for the 
cruel instinct of the mob. A rush was made at him, and he 
was driven for refuge into the Windmill Tavern. Stones began 
to fly, and the howling crowd demanded its victim. In vain 
the landlord disguised him before he sent him out. There was 
another scamper through the streets, another attempt to find 
refuge. The master of the second house satisfied his conscience 
by dismissing him with four constables to guard him. Such 
aid was of little avail. The helpless protectors were dashed 
aside. The object of popular hatred was thrown bleeding on 
the ground. Blows from sticks and stones and pieces of board 
snatched up for the occasion fell like rain upon his quivering 
flesh. After he could no longer speak to plead for mercy, one 
of his eyes was beaten out of its socket. No man would open 
his doors to receive the all but lifeless body of the detested 
necromancer. He was at last carried to the Compter prison, 
where he died on the following morning. 

1 Fairholt's Poems and Songs relating to the Duke of Buckingham, 
Percy Society. 

* Meade to Stuteville, July 12, Court and Times, i. 373. 


Charles, when he heard the news, was greatly affected. The 

murderers had been heard to say that if the Duke had been 

Junei6 there they would have handled him worse. They 

The King's would have minced his flesh, and have had everyone 

a bit of him. He summoned before him the Lord 

Mayor and Aldermen, bidding them to discover the offenders, ' 

and he subsequently imposed a heavy fine upon the City for 

their failure to detect the guilty persons. 

The King's heart was hardened against the assailants of 
the Duke. To sift the statements of the Remonstrance, or to 
promise an inquiry into the cause of the late disasters, would 
be beneath his dignity. He determined to meet the charges 
of the Commons as a mere personal attack upon innocence. 

The i yth was the day fixed by Charles for the reception 
of the Remonstrance. The day before, he sent to the Star 
Orders the Chamber an order that all documents connected 
fnTh^ttaf with the sham prosecution of Buckingham which 
PSI^tThe na d followed the last dissolution, should be removed 
Duke to from the file ; ' that no memory thereof remain of 

be taken ' . J 

from the file, the record against him which may tend to his 
disgrace.' 2 

When the reading of the Remonstrance was ended, Charles 

answered curtly. He did not expect, he said, such a remon- 

june 17. strance from them after he had so graciously granted 

Answers the them their Petiuon of Right. They complained of 

Remon- j r 

strance. grievances in Church and State, ' wherein he per- 
ceived they understood not what belonged to either so well as 
he had thought they had done. As for their grievances, he 
would consider of them as they should deserve.' When he 
had finished, Buckingham threw himself on his knees, asking 
permission to answer for himself. Charles would not allow 
him to do so, giving him his hand to kiss in the presence of his 
accusers. 3 

If it had not been too late for anything to have availed 

1 Meade to Stuteville, June 21, June 29, Court and Times, i. 364, 367. 
Diary, S. P. Dom. cii. 57. Rusltworth, i. 618. 

* Kushworth, i. 626. 

* Meade to Stuteville, June 21, Court and Tim r, i. 364. 


Buckingham, it might be thought that he had judged better 
Contrast for himself than his master had done. His way was 
Bu'dklngham to meet charges boldly and defiantly. Charles's way 
and Charles. was t o re lapse into silence, to fall back upon his 
insulted dignity, and to demand the submission to his mere 
word which argument could alone have secured for him. His 
own notions were to him so absolutely true that they needed 
no explanation. 

So far as Buckingham was able, he sought to meet the 
charges against him. It had been rumoured in the House of 
Commons that the Duke had said, " Tush ! it makes no matter 
what the Commons or Parliament doth ; for without my leave 
and authority they shall not be able to touch the hair of a dog." 
Buckingham In vain Buckingham protested that the slander was 
silnderous absolutely untrue. 1 The accusation was repeated in 
story. verses drawn up to suit the popular taste, in which 

the Duke was made to declare his entire independence of the 
popular feeling. "Meddle," he is made to say to his oppo- 

"Meddle with common matters, common wrongs, 
To the House of Commons common things belongs. 
They are extra sph&raiii that you treat of now, 
And ruin to yourselves will bring, I vow, 
Except you do desist, and learn to bear 
What wisdom ought to teach you, or your fear. 
Leave him the oar that best knows how to row, 
And State to him that best the State doth know. 

Though Lambe be dead, I'll stand, and you shall see, 
I'll sii.ile at them that can but bark at me." 2 

Though in reality these words applied far more correctly to 
the King than to Buckingham, so long as Buckingham was in 
favour no man would believe how great a part Charles had in 
his own calamities. " Who rules the kingdom ? " were the 
words of a pasquinade found nailed to a post in Coleman 

1 Lords' Journals, iii. 897. 
- Poems on Buckingham, Percy Society, 30. 


Street. " The King. Who rules the King ? The Duke. Who 
rules the Duke? The devil. Let the Duke look to it." l 

Under the influence of the feeling provoked by the rejection 

of the Remonstrance the Commons went into committee on 

the Bill for the grant of tonnage and poundage which 

Tonnage and had been brought in at the beginning of the session, 

11 age ' but had been postponed on account of the pressure 
of other business. With the exception of the merest fragment, 
no record of the debates in this committee has reached us ; 
but we learn from a contemporary letter 2 that the Commons, 
whilst making a liberal grant, equal to the whole of the customs 
and imposts put together, wished to alter the incidence of 
some of the rates, partly because they considered them too 
heavy on certain articles, partly for the preservation of their 
own right to make the grant. 

As soon as it appeared that the work to which the Commons 
had set themselves would take two or three months, they pro- 
Dissatisfac P ose( ^ to P ass a temporary Bill to save the rights which 
tiouofthe they claimed, leaving all further discussion till the 
next session. When the King refused to assent to this 
proposal, they expressed a wish that they might have an adjourn- 
ment instead of a prorogation. In this way the Act, when finally 
passed at their next meeting, would take effect from the be- 
ginning of the session in the past winter, and the illegality, as 
they held it, of the actual levy would be covered by it. 

It may be that the Commons did not at the time mean 
more than they said, and had no fixed intention of using their 
claim to be the sole originators of the right to levy customs' 
duties in order to compel the King to attend to their political 
grievances. It may very well have seemed to Charles that 
the case was otherwise ; and the more persistent they were 
in asserting their right, the more determined he was not to give 
way on a point where concession would make it impossible 
for him to govern the kingdom except in accordance with their 
views. If the Commons saw fit at their next meeting to vote 
him less than the old tonnage and poundage and the new im- 

1 Meade to Stuteville, June 29, Court and Times, i. 367. 
8 Nethersole to Elizabeth, June 30, S. P. Dom. cviii. 52. 


positions put together, he would be landed in a perpetual 
deficit, even if a treaty of peace could be signed at once with 
France and Spain. For Charles a perpetual deficit meant the 
expulsion of Buckingham from his counsels and the domina- 
tion of Puritanism in the Church ; in other words, it meant his 
own surrender of that Royal authority which had been handed 
down to him from his predecessors a surrender far more 
complete than he had contemplated in giving his assent to the 
Petition of Right. 

Accordingly, on the 23rd Charles sent a message once more 

June 23. declaring that he had fixed a date for the proroga- 

Theproroga- tion. The Houses might sit till the 26th, but they 

tion deter- . * 

mined on. should Sit no longer. 

The Commons at once proceeded to draw up another Re- 
monstrance. They would not have complained, they asserted, 
if an adjournment and not a prorogation had been offered. 
In that case the matter would have been taken up when they 
met again, and the Act when passed would have given a retro- 
spective sanction to all duties levied under it since the com- 
mencement of the session. The Commons then proceeded to 
declare that no imposition ought to be laid upon the goods of 
merchants, exported or imported, without common consent by 
Act of Parliament ; which, they said to the King, ' is the right 
and inheritance of your subjects, founded not only upon the 
most ancient and original constitutions of this kingdom, but 
often confirmed and declared in divers statute laws.' They had 
hoped that a Bill might have been passed to satisfy the King 
in the present session. " But not being now able," they con- 
cluded by saying, " to accomplish this their desire, there is no 
course left unto them, without manifest breach of their duty 
both to your Majesty and their country, save only to make this 
humble declaration : That the receiving of tonnage 
Remon- and poundage and other impositions not granted by 
foifnTgeTnd Parliament, is a breach of the fundamental liberties 
pondage. Q - tn j s ki n gd om) and contrary to your Majesty's 
Royal answer to their late Petition of Right ; and therefore they 
do most humbly beseech your Majesty to forbear any further 
receiving the same ; and not to take it in ill part from those of 

Y 2 


your Majesty's loving subjects who shall refuse to make pay- 
ment of any such charges without warrant of law demanded. 
And as, by this forbearance, your most excellent Majesty shall 
manifest unto the world your Royal justice in the observation 
of your laws, so they doubt not but hereafter, at the time ap- 
pointed for their coming together again, they shall have occa 
sion to express their great desire to advance your Majesty's 
honour and profit." l 

Rather than listen to such words as these, Charles deter- 
mined to hasten the end of the session by a few hours. 
Hurriedly, and without taking time to put on the usual robes, 
he entered the House of Lords early the next morning, almost 
as soon as the Peers had met. 

" My Lords and Gentlemen," he said, when the Commons 

had been summoned, "it may seem strange that I come so 

suddenly to end this session : wherefore, before I 

June 26. ' 

The King's give my assent to the Bills, I will tell you the cause; 
though I must avow that I owe an account of my 
actions but to God alone. It is known to everyone that a 
while ago the House of Commons gave me a Remonstrance, 
how acceptable every man may judge ; and for the merit of it 
I will not call that in question, for I am sure no wise man can 
justify it. 

" Now, since I am certainly informed that a second Re- 
monstrance is preparing for me, to take away my chief profit of 
tonnage and poundage one of the chief maintenances of the 
Crown by alleging that I have given away my right thereof by 
my answer to your petition ; this is so prejudicial unto me that 
I am forced to end this session some few hours before I meant 
it, being willing not to receive any more Remonstrances to 
which I must give a harsh answer. 

" And since I see that even the House of Commons begins 
already to make false constructions of what I granted in your 
petition, lest it might be worse interpreted in the country I will 
now make a declaration concerning the true meaning thereof : 

" The profession of both Houses, in time of hammering 

1 Parl. Hist. ii. 431. 


this petition, was no ways to entrench upon my prerogative, 
saying they had neither intention nor power to hurt it : there- 
fore it must needs be conceived I granted no new, but only 
confirmed the ancient liberties of my subjects ; yet, to show the 
clearness of my intentions, that I neither repent nor mean to 
recede from anything I have promised you, I do here declare 
that those things which have been done whereby men had some 
cause to suspect the liberty of the subjects to be trenched upon 
which indeed was the first and true ground of the petition 
shall not hereafter be drawn into example for your prejudice : 
and in time to come, on the word of a King, you shall not have 
the like cause to complain. 

" But as for tonnage and poundage, it is a thing I cannot 
want, and was never intended by you to ask never meant, I 
am sure, by me to grant. 

" To conclude, I command you all that are here to take 
notice of what I have spoken at this time to be the true intent 
and meaning of what I granted you in your petition, but es- 
pecially you, my Lords the Judges for to you only, under me, 
belongs the interpretation of laws ; for none of the House of 
Commons, joint or separate what new doctrine soever may be 
raised have any power either to make or declare a law without 
my consent." l 

After the Royal assent had been given to a few Bills the 
session was formally brought to an end by prorogation to Octo- 
ber 20. It was the first time in his reign that Charles 
pmro^ed. had ended a session otherwise than by a dissolution. 
Breach be- Yet the crisis was more serious, the breach more 
King"andthe complete and hopeless, than ever before. In 1625 

commons. ^ & ommons to 

counsel with persons upon whom dependence could be placed. 
In 1626 he had been asked to dismiss one unpopular minister 
from his service. In 1628 his whole policy was to be changed 
at home and abroad, his whole personal feeling was to be 
sacrificed by the condemnation of Laud and Neile as well as 
of the great Duke himself. Statesmen and divines who were 

1 Lords' Journals, iii. 879. The last clause is corrected from Parl. 
Hist. ii. 434. 


pleasing to the Commons were to be promoted : statesmen 
and divines who were displeasing to them were to be dis- 
couraged and silenced. The will of the Lower House was to 
be the rule by which all that was taught and all that was done 
in England was from henceforward to be gauged ; and this 
claim to sovereignty for it was nothing less was backed by 
the ominous claim to relieve individual persons from the duty 
of paying to the Crown dues which, though they had been de- 
clared illegal by a resolution of the House of Commons, had 
been declared to be legal by the judges. It would 


formally in have taxed the Commons to the utmost, if the 
opportunity had been afforded them, to answer the 
King within the lines of existing constitutional practice. That 
the judges, and not the King, were to decide questions affecting 
the liberty of the subject had been the point pressed most 
firmly by the Commons in the debates on the Petition of Right. 
Yet now they proceeded to ignore entirely the fact that the 
unreversed decision of the judges in the case of impositions 
was clearly on the King's side. If the Commons were to sus- 
pend the payment of these duties by their own resolution in 
the face of a judicial decision, why might they not suspend the 
operation of any law whatever against which they entertained 
objections ? And, unless new checks were provided, what would 
government by the resolutions of a single House lead to but 
the tyranny which enabled Cromwell to turn the key on the 
expelled Long Parliament, and which in the following century 
roused the thinking part of the nation to take up the defence 
of a man so unworthy as Wilkes ? 

Nor was it only in his resolution to leave the interpretation 
of the laws to the judges that Charles took ground which was 
Was tonnage at l east formally defensible. That the words of the 
ge Included P etition of Right, praying that 'no man hereafter be 
in the PC- compelled to make or yield any gift, loan, benevo- 

tmen of i 1-1 i , 

Right? lence, tax, or such like charge, without common 
consent by Act of Parliament,' ought to have covered the case 
of customs' duties is a proposition from which few would 
now be inclined to dissent. Yet amongst the words used, only 
tax ' was sufficiently general to be supposed for a moment to 


cover the case of duties upon imports and exports, and even 
that word, though often used loosely to apply to payments of 
every kind, had the specific meaning of direct payments, and 
in this sense would not be at all applicable to the dues which 
were levied at the ports. 1 When, therefore, Charles said that in 
granting the petition he had never intended to yield on this 
point, he undoubtedly said nothing less than the truth. He 
might have said even more than he did. It is as certain as 
anything can well be that, either because they did not wish to 
enhance the difficulty of obtaining a satisfactory answer from 
the King, or because they expected to gain their object in 
another way, the Commons never had any intention to include 
the question of tonnage and poundage in the Petition of Right. 
The Tonnage and Poundage Bill had been brought in early in 
the session. From time to time it had been mentioned, but, 
except a few words from Phelips, nothing had been said to give to 
it any sort of prominence. What would have been easier than, 
by the addition of one or two expressions to the petition, to 
include the levy of these duties amongst the grievances of the 
House ? Yet nothing of the kind was done, though the words 
of the petition, as was known to every lawyer, if not to every 
member of the House, were such as would not be acknowledged 
by the King to cover the case of tonnage and poundage. What 
was still more important was that the Petition of Right, like every 
other statute, was subject to the interpretation of the judges, 
and that it was well known that the judges were in the habit ot" 
deciding every doubtful point in favour of the Crown. It was 
therefore with full knowledge that the ambiguous word ' tax ' 
would not carry with it the consequences which they now 
wished to derive from it, that the framers of the petition, them- 
selves being lawyers of the highest eminence, had abstained from 
strengthening their work with other words which would have 
put an end to all doubt. For these reasons, the insertion of the 
appeal to the Petition of Right in the final Remonstrance can 
only be regarded as a daring attempt to take up new ground 

1 The notes of Montague's speech in the Par/. Debates in 1610 give ; 
"Tax or tallage only by Parliament. Custom or imposition proceed from 
a regal power, and matter of inheritance in the King.' 


which would place the right of the House above that decision 
given in the last reign by the Court of Exchequer, which they 
had hitherto contested in vain. 1 

It by no means follows, however, that the Commons, if 

formally in the wrong, may not have been materially in the 

right. Legal decisions cannot bind a naiion for ever, 

The case for & , , , . , . 

the Com- and the power of saying the last word, with all the 
terrible responsibilities which weigh upon those who 
pronounce it, must be with those by whom the nation is 
most fully represented. The Commons had at least shown 
that they had confidence in the English people. In every 
petition which had come before them relating to the exercise 
of the franchise, they had always decided in favour of the most 
extended right of voting which it was in their power to acknow- 
ledge. Great as was the influence of wealthy landowners in 
returning members to the House, those members had no wish to 
be anything else than the representatives of the nation. 2 With 
the nation their conservatism placed them at a great advantage 
as the defenders of what to that generation was the old religion 
and the old law. In his resistance to Calvinistic dogmatism, in 
his desire to make the forces of the nation more easily available 
for what he conceived to be national objects, Charles was the 
advocate of change and innovation. His weakness lay in his 
utter ignorance of men, in his incapacity to subordinate that 
which was only desirable to that which was possible, and above 
all, in his habitual disregard of that primary axiom of govern- 
ment, that men may be led though they cannot be driven. He 
looked upon the whole world through a distorting lens. If 

1 The wording of this clause in the petition is 'that no man hereafter 
be compelled to make or yield any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like 
charge without common consent by Act of Parliament.' In the Tonnage 
and Poundage Act of the Long Parliament we hear ' that no subsidy, cus- 
tom, impost, or any charge whatsoever ought to be laid or imposed upon 
any merchandise exported or imported.' In the debates in 1610 the ques- 
tion was almost entirely debated, especially on the side of the Crown, as if 
customs' duties were to be treated apart from other taxation. 

2 For the results of this work in committee I must refer to Mr. Forster. 
Sir J. Eliot, ii. 1 19. 


Buckingham was far from being the scoundrel which popular 
opinion imagined him to be, his failures could not be ascribed, 
as Charles thought fit to ascribe them, to mere accident. If 
Calvinistic orthodoxy must, sooner or later, be struck down in 
England, it was not from Laudian uniformity that the blow 
could come. In Charles blindness, narrow-mindedness, and 
obstinacy, combined with an exaggerated sense of the errors of 
his opponents, were laying the sure foundations of future ruin. 
Then would come the turn of the Commons, the day when 
they too would learn that sovereignty is only permanently en- 
trusted to those who can represent the nation with wisdom as 
well as with sympathy. The secret of the future was with those 
who could guide England into the sure haven of religious liberty. 
It was not enough to say that the Commons represented 
England in 1628 as well as Elizabeth represented England in 
1588. Elizabeth at least took care that all manner of com- 
plaints should reach her ears, and that no man should be ex- 
cluded from her Privy Council on account of his opinions. If 
the preponderance in the constitution was to pass from the King 
to the House of Commons, many a compensating change would 
be needed before the great alteration could be safely effected. 
Above all, opinion must be set free to an extent of which Pym 
and Coke never dreamed, if it were only that the nation might 
itself receive that enlightenment which had in old times been 
thought necessary for the sovereign. 

Such considerations, however, were still in the future. 
Though men were beginning to feel, and sometimes to act, as 
if some constitutional change was necessary, they had not yet 
learned to give verbal expression to their thoughts. If Charles 
was still sovereign of England in the eyes of others, more espe- 
cially was he sovereign in his own eyes. Unhappily he did not 
see in past events a reason for acting so as to regain the hearts 

of his people. Having the opportunity of flinging 
ticai appoint- defiance in the face of the Commons, he chose to 

place in high positions in the Church the men whom 
he knew to be most unpopular. Not long ago Neile had been 
transferred from Durham to Winchester ; and now Mon- 
taigne, the old, infirm, luxurious Bishop of London, who was 


at the moment best known as the licenser of Manwaring's ser- 
mons, was promoted first to Durham, and then to the 
Archbishopric of York ; l whilst the See of London, 
with all its authority over a more than ordinarily Cal- 
vinistic clergy and people, was handed over to Laud. 2 Howson, 
one of Laud's chief supporters amongst the bishops, was raised 
to the important See of Durham ; 3 Buckeridge, another of his 
supporters, having been recently translated to Ely. 4 Yet the 
promotion which gave the greatest offence was undoubtedly that 
of Richard Montague to the bishopric of Chichester. 5 Whatever 
Montague's merits may have been, a wise king would not have 
chosen such a moment to promote a man so unpopular. The 
very circumstance which should have told most against him 
was doubtless that which most recommended him to Charles's 
favour. The Puritans must be made to understand that they 
had no standing ground in the English Church ; and how 
could that be brought more clearly before their eyes than by 
the promotion of a man who openly declared them to be a 
usurping faction ? 

Scarcely less unwise was Charles's course with Manwaring. 
It can hardly be wondered that he desired to relieve the un- 
lucky divine from the penalties which had befallen him for advo- 
cating a doctrine which in the King's eyes had only been pushed 
too far. Charles was indeed careful to mark his dissent from 
the extreme form which that doctrine had taken. In 

July 6. 

Manwaring's the pardon which he caused to be drawn up for Man- 
pardon, waring, he stated that the ground on which it was 
based was his recantation of the most objectionable part of his 
opinions. 6 But Charles did not stop here. He conferred upon 
Manwaring the rectory of Stanford Rivers, just vacated by 
Montague, 7 again confirming the assertion of the Commons, 
that promotion in the Church was becoming the exclusive 
property of that section whose opinions were regarded with ab- 
horrence by the majority of the clergy and of the religious laity. 

1 Date of congt cTelire, June 5. 2 July 4. 

* July 4. 4 April 8. 5 Cong tfelire, July 8. 

The King to Heath, July 6, S. P. Don;, cix. 42. 
7 Docquet, July 18. 


These promotions in the Church had been made in the first 
swing of indignation against the Puritans, to whom Charles 
and Buckingham l traced all their calamities. Of the two men, 
Buckingham, though his impetuousness and self-confidence 
were perpetually leading him astray, was more accessible than 
Charles to statesmanlike considerations. When Charles was 
inclined to treat the unpopularity of his government as a matter 
of no moment, and to regard the objections raised against his 
proceedings with the cool contempt of silence, Buckingham 
was always ready to give a reason for his actions, 

Bucking- J J . 

ham's foreign with the firm assurance that he needed only a fair 
hearing to set him right with those who disapproved 
of his conduct. To him, too, the war in which he had engaged 
was now a matter rather of necessity than of enthusiasm, and 
he had for some time been seeking to limit its operations. The 
Negotiations correspondence Gerbier continued to carry on with 
with Spain. R u bens gave some reason to believe that Spain would 
still be induced, through jealousy of Fiance, to make peace with 
England ; and, whatever Buckingham may have thought of the 
matter, the sanguine mind of Charles was not without some hopes 
of obtaining in this way the restitution of the Palatinate and an 
acknowledgment of the independence of the Dutch republic. 2 
Circumstances, too, had occurred in Italy which made it not 
impossible that Spain might be brought to make unusual con- 
The succes- cess i ns - I n December the Duke of Mantua had 
Mpn of died, leaving as the undoubted heir to his possessions 

Mantua. ' 

a distant kinsman, the Duke of Nevers, whose family 
had long been settled in France. Against this extension of 
French influence in Italy the Emperor interfered, claiming the 
right, as King of Italy, to dispose of vacant fiefs, a right which 
he was inclined to exercise, as far as Mantua was concerned, 
in favour of another candidate who would have been entirely 

1 Laud, in his History of the Troubles (Works, iv. 273), says that 
Montague's appointment was procured by Buckingham. 

* The papers translated in Mr. Sainsbury's Rubens should be compared 
with Contarini's despatches, after making allowance for the anti-Spanish 
feeling of the Venetian, and his consequent tendency to suspect all sorts of 
treachery in Charles and Buckingham. 


under the influence of Spain. At the same time the Duke of 
Savoy, who had lately been swinging round in his political 
alliances, proposed to divide with Spain the territory of Mont- 
ferrat, which had formed part of the dominions of the deceased 

Charles was still anxious to push on the war in all directions. 
Though it was a point of honour with him to succour Rochelle 
. at all risks, he would gladly have saved the King of 
Carlisle's Denmark and the German Protestants as well, if he 
had only known how to do it. Carlisle was therefore 
sent in April on a special mission to Savoy. He was to visit the 
Duke of Lorraine on his way, in order to stir him up against 
France ; and when he reached Turin he was to take advan- 
tage of the disturbances in Italy to embitter the rising quarrel 
between France and Spain, and thus to leave room for the freer 
action of England at Rochelle and in the North of Germany. 1 

Whatever might come of these various negotiations, the 
idea of a forced retirement from Continental affairs was not 
entertained either in the Court or the Council of Charles. As 
soon as the acceptance of the Petition of Right 
Warlike had given assurance that the subsidies would be 
projects. rea iiy voted, the Privy Council began to discuss the 
best mode of sending a force to assist the King of Denmark to 
maintain himself in Gliickstadt and Krempe, which were still 
holding out. Morgan's men who had surrendered at Stade 
were to be employed for the purpose ; and Dulbier's horse, 
which could not now be landed in England, were to be kept 
in Germany or the Netherlands, in order that they might be 
used in defence of the North German Protestants as soon as 
Rochelle had been either captured or relieved. 2 The belief, 
in fact, was rapidly gaining ground that the war with France 

1 Carlisle's instructions, March 10, HarL MSS. 1584, fol. 173. 

2 Conway to Carleton, June 7, 10, S. P. Holland. Morgan's men 
were to be reduced to one regiment of 1,50x3 men, and were offered tem- 
porarily to the Dutch, to be paid by England "and lodged-and fed by the 
States-General. D. Carleton to the States-General, July i6 , Add. MSS 
17,677, M. fol. 256. 


would not be of long continuance. It was hardly thought pos- 
j u i y . sible that the great expedition now preparing could 
pacrwith* fail to relieve Rochelle ; and if Rochelle were once 
France relieved, whether peace were formally concluded 
with France or not, there would be no further need for any 
great exertions in that quarter. If, on the other hand, the 
attempt ended in failure, Rochelle must of necessity submit, 
and the same result would ensue. In either case, Charles 
would be at liberty to turn his attention to Germany. 

The only question therefore was whether the opening of nego- 
tiations with Spain should be encouraged. Buckingham had 
and with now veered round to his earlier policy of 1622, and 
Spam. was h pi n g everything from the friendliness of Spain. 
" Let us make peace with Spain, and settle the affairs of the 
Palatinate," he said to the Savoyard ambassador, the Abbot of 
Scaglia, "and then the Dutch will do as we please." At all 
events, he assured the Abbot, there should be no peace with 
France till an answer had been received to the offer about to be 
addressed to Spain. 1 It was finally arranged that Endymion 
Porter, once the messenger who had made arrangements for 
Charles's journey to Madrid, should make his way to Spain in 
order to come to an understanding with Olivares, and to assure 
him that, if it were thought necessary, Buckingham would come 
in person to carry on the negotiation for peace. 2 The hope 
entertained in England seems to have been that the Spaniards 
would throw their whole strength into Italy, thus leaving Ger- 
many free. 

Buckingham was far more anxious than Charles for the 
success of these negotiations. Yet not long after the proroga- 
charies tion, Charles sent a message to the Prince of Orange, 
Prin r s of he informing him that, ' being unable to bear the burden 
Orange. of war against two such great kings,' he had resolved 
to listen to the Spanish overtures for a treaty in which the 
restoration of the Palatinate and the pacification of the Nether- 

1 Statement enclosed in a letter from the Infanta Isabella to Philip IV., 
June, JHJ^Z Brussels MSS. 

1 The Infanta Isabella to Philip IV., Oct. ^ 4 , Brussels MSS. 


lands would be expressly included. 1 The proposal was received 
with astonishment and indignation at the Hague, where the 
circumstance that Carlisle, in passing through Brussels, had an 
audience of the Infanta was considered as enough to indicate 
the intention of Charles to conclude a separate peace. The 
Dutch ambassadors in England were accordingly instructed to 
remonstrate all the more warmly against any such purpose, 
because it was believed by the States-General that even a peace 
in which they were themselves included would be most dele- 
terious to their interests, as leaving the Spaniards free to act in 
aid of the Emperor in Germany. Naturally enough, too, the 
Dutch found a warm advocate in the Venetian ambassador, to 
whom Charles's project of putting an end to the troubles of the 
North by fanning the flames of war in Italy appeared to be an 
act of the blackest ingratitude. Neither he nor the Dutch am- 
bassadors were inclined to believe Charles's assurances that 
nothing should be done without the knowledge of his allies. Yet 
there is no reason to doubt Charles's sincerity. As he had scarcely 
as yet opened his eyes to the absolute necessity of putting an 
end to the war on account of the poverty of his exchequer, he 
was likely enough to flatter himself that it was in his power to 
continue fighting on his own terms, and to reject any offers from 
Spain which might be disagreeable to his sense of right. 2 

It is impossible to disconnect these diplomatic efforts from 

the personal changes which at the same time took place in the 

Government. The anxiety for the future which led 

Changes in . 

the Govern- Buckingham to attempt to impose a limit upon his 

menu ... , , , , 

military operations abroad, was also shown in his 
desire to meet Parliament, when it re-assembfed, in something 
like a conciliatory spirit. Although in the King's present 
temper it would be impossible to expect that Charles would 
consent to give much satisfaction to the Puritans, it might be 

1 Extract from a despatch of the Prince of Orange in Contarini's 
despatch of July *. 

* The Dutch Ambassadors to the States-General, ^^7, Add. MSS, 

17,677, M. fol. 266; Contarini to the Doge, July ^' iu' V ^' Ven ' Tran ' 
so if is, R.O. 


possible, if once success at Rochelle should have limited the 
extent of the war, to restore order to the finances, and also 
to gain the good-will of men Whose names would seem to be 
a guarantee for the strict execution of the Petition of Right, 
and who would yet be the last to acquiesce in the claim of 
the House of Commons to direct the external policy of the 

Such men were to be found in trie leaders of the majority 

of the House of Lords. Bristol and Arundel were therefore 

restored to favour, and Weston, who was practically 

Weston, ' J 

LordTrea- one in policy with them, became Lord Treasurer. 
Marlborough, old and thoroughly inefficient, found 
a place as President of the Council, and Manchester became 
Privy Seal, Worcester having died some months before. It 
was certain that the influence of these men would be exerted in 
favour of economy and peace, and that they would give their 
countenance to an understanding with the House of Commons, 
if they could attain that object without diminishing that which 
they regarded as the legitimate authority of the King. A para- 
graph in a letter written by Weston to the Duke, doubtless ex- 
pressed the feelings of the others as well. " I long to see you at 
home again with honour, in a quiet and settled Court, studying 
his Majesty's affairs, which require two contrary things to cure 
them rest and vigilancy." l 

The letter-writers of the day are full of news of these 
changes at Court, and of others which have less interest in 
our eyes. On one promotion, which has neve r ceased to en- 
gage the attention of Englishmen, they are entirely silent. Not 
July 22. one of them notices the fact that on July 22 Sir 
Wentworth Thomas Wentworth became Lord Wentworth, and 

created a 

Peer. was, on Weston's introduction, received into favour 

by Charles. 

From that time to this no word has been found too hard 
for the great apostate, the unworthy deserter of the principles 
Was he an f n ' s youth. Those who have studied the true 
apostate? records of the session which had just come to an end 
are aware that he was neither an apostate nor a deserter. The 
' \Vtstou to Buckingham, Aug. 18, S. P. Dom. cxiii. 14. 


abuses struck at by the Petition of Right he regarded as 
prejudicial to government as well as injurious to the subject. 
When they had been swept aWay he was free to take his own 
course ; and that course must have been greatly determined 
by the proceedings of the Commons in the last days of the 
session. With Puritanism he had no sympathy whatever. He 
had no confidence in the House of Commons as an instrument 
of government, and must have regarded its claim to strip the 
Crown of tonnage and poundage, and its declaration that sub- 
jects were released from the obligation of paying those dues, as a 
proclamation inviting to anarchy. If, however, he thought the 
Lower House unfit to govern England, he was equally of opinion 
that Buckingham was unfit to govern England. We may well 
believe, therefore, that he had no anxiety to accept a share in 
the responsibilities of a Privy Councillor's place at a time when 
the duties of a Privy Councillor were reduced to the uncongenial 
task of echoing the words of the all-powerful minister. Many 
months were yet to pass before Wentworth would be asked to 
take his seat at the Council board. 1 The position which he 
was now called upon to occupy exactly suited his present mood. 
His peerage removed him from the House of Commons, where 
he had been isolated ever since the failure of his effort to 
mediate between the Crown and the nation. In the House of 
Lords he would find, in the lately formed majority, a body of 
men with whom he could cordially co-operate. Bristol and 
Arundel were as opposed as he was to the extravagances by 
which the policy of the Crown had lately been disfigured, 
whilst they were of one mind with himself in resenting any 
attempt of the House of Commons to make itself master of the 

Although it is likely enough that Wentworth had no imme- 
diate wish to gain that admittance to the Council which was 

1 That he became a Privy Councillor at this time is a mistake. Sir G. 
Radcliffe (Strafford Letters, ii. App. 430) having put together the two 
years 1628 and 1629, seems to say that he became a Privy Councillor in 
Michaelmas term, 1628. The true date, as we learn from the Council 
A'sgister, is Nov. 10, 1629, a fact of considerable importance in an estimate 
f VVentworth's character. 


denied him by Charles, it is also likely that he aspired, at a not 
distant future, to a higher post than any which was for the pre- 
sent open to him. No man knew better than he that the war 
must soon come to an end for want of supplies, and that the 
policy of abstention from interference with the Continent which 
he had advocated from the beginning would be forced upon 
Charles. When peace was restored the hour of VVentworth would 
Hisexpected come. For the present he was content with the pro- 
ThTp^ofThe m ' se tnat he should before long succeed the Earl of 
North. Sunderland as President of the Council of the North. 
At York he would be far removed from all responsibility for the 
general government. At York, too, he would be able to carry 
out those principles which he had professed in the House of 
Commons. One of the grave complaints made by the Lower 
House at the close of the session had been against the leniency 
shown by Sunderland to the recusants, and Wentworth's voice 
had been raised as loudly as Pym's against this leniency. In 
times of difficulty Charles was always ready to throw the re- 
cusants over, and there was now an understanding between 
him and Wentworth that, in this matter at least, the will of the 
House of Commons should prevail. 

To Wentworth himself this temporary abstraction from all 
public consideration of national affairs was doubtless extremely 
Wentworth grateful We are tempted to ask whether it was 
mentar^ ha equally beneficial to the nation. In the last session 
leader. h e alone amongst the leaders of the House had 
shown anything like powers of constructive statesmanship. 
Coke and Eliot, Pym and Phelips, had been content with the 
negation of misgovernment. Their wish was simply that the 
law and religion of England should remain as it was. Went- 
worth had not shown himself content with this. An active, wise, 
and reforming Government was the ideal after which he strove 
from first to last. 

In that session, too, Wentworth had developed powers for 
which those whose knowledge of him is acquired only from the 
acts of his later life must have some difficulty in giving him 
credit. The impetuous haughtiness of his disposition had been 
curbed before that great assembly which he was learning to 

VOL. vi. z 


lead. There he could be silent and patient, could watch his 
opportunity till the time arrived when he could express his 
special thought in harmony with the thoughts of those around 
him. Whatever mistakes may have been committed in judging 
Wentworth's career, those are not wrong who hold that his 
leadership of the Commons in the early part of the session of 
1628 was the brightest, noblest period of his life. 

From all this Wentworth was now cut off, not by his peer- 
age or by the allurements of power, but by the impossibility of 
Causes finding a common ground upon which the King and 
tranged S him l ^ e House of Commons could work together. If 
from the Charles had abandoned him, as he was to abandon him 

House of m ' 

Commons, again, he was still drawn to Charles by every tendency 
of his nature. He could persuade himself, as the Commons 
had persuaded themselves in 1625, that Charles had erred from 
want of counsel, and he could hope to breathe into his soul a 
higher, loftier spirit. Even whilst he had played the foremost 
part amongst the Commons, he had never been one with them 
in heart. He could make use of their power over the grant of 
subsidies to put an end to the folly and violence of which he 
complained ; but he could not lift up the standard of Puritanism 
as Pym or Eliot could lift it up. He could not believe in the 
capacity for government of a House composed for the most 
part, as it was of necessity, of men of ordinary abilities. He 
could not see that in the face of a Government which was hurry- 
ing a nation against its will into a path from which it recoiled, 
the mere conservatism of the Lower House, the simple deter- 
mination to stand in the old paths and to cling to the old 
familiar religious and political traditions, might be, for the 
moment, the highest political virtue. 

Wentworth's acceptance of a peerage marked to a great 
extent the choice which he had made ; but more than thirteen 
His time not nioiiths momentous months for England were to 
y come. elapse before he took his place in the Privy Council 
and finally threw in his lot with Charles. As yet Buckingham 
stood in the way. A Council controlled by a minister so in- 
capable and so headstrong was no place for Wentworth. 




WOULD the policy foreshadowed in the names of Bristol and 
Weston be sufficient to save the King from the difficulties 
which would stare him in the face when Parliament met 
again? Even if an attempt were made to effect some com- 
promise about tonnage and poundage, the religious difficulty 
remained unsolved. There was one man at least in the party 
which had played so stirring a part in the House of Lords who 
had no confidence in the system of giving promotion to a small 
minority amongst the clergy. Williams had sense enough to 
views of see ^ at ^ e f avour shown to Manwaring and Mon- 
wiiiiams. tague was no road to a settled government. For the 
high dogmatic ways of Calvinism he had little taste ; but he 
could not ignore the fact that Calvinism was a great power in 
England, and he had too much of the instinct of a statesman 
to treat with contempt the religion of the large majority of the 
English people. 

Already, before the session was at an end, overtures had 

been made to Williams by Buckingham's mother. The Countess 

had in old days been on familiar terms with him, and 


Overtures of she may well have looked at that sagacious counsellor 
of^uckC!!- 5 as the most likely man to save her son from the ruin 
ham- which she saw approaching. Before the end of May, 

at a time when the Petition of Right, if not accepted by the 
King, had been definitively accepted by the House of Lords, she 
had a long interview with him, whether at her son's instigation 

z a 


or not \ve cannot say. 1 The result was that Williams, being 

allowed to kiss the Duke's hand, made use of the opportunity 

to urge the wisdom of a policy of indulgence towards 

Reconciha- L J 

tion between the Puritans. 

ham and Unless there is some error in the report which 

im!> ' has reached us, Williams had already recommended 
that Eliot rather than Wentworth should be selected to receive 
tokens of the Royal favour. Though it may be doubted whether 
Eliot, as matters stood, would have responded to the call, the 
suggestion, if it was really made, showed a clear insight into 
the political situation. The fact that English Calvinism ex- 
isted was one which no wise Government could pass by, and 
though Williams would not have been likely to advise Charles 
to silence Laud and Montague to please the House of Com- 
mons, he would have advised that Laud and Montague should 
not be permitted to impose their opinions on the rest of the 
clergy. Williams would, however, have changed his nature if 
some intrigue had not been mingled with the wise counsel 
which he gave. He suggested that his reconciliation with 
Buckingham should be veiled in profound secrecy, in order 
that when he supported a compromise on the dispute about 
tonnage and poundage in the next session, he might speak 
with greater authority as an independent member of the Upper 
House. 2 

Whatever may be the truth about the proposal made re- 
lating to Eliot, there can be no doubt that Williams's counsel 
was worthy of acceptance. As far as it is possible to argue from 
cause to consequence, if Williams had been trusted by Charles 
instead of Laud, there would have been no civil war and no 
dethronement in the future. 

1 The fact of the interview between them is all that is known. Wood- 
ward to Windebank, May 28, S. /'. Dom. cv. 55. 

2 Hacket) ii. 80, 83. Mr. Hallam, who has been followed by Mr. 
Disraeli and Mr. Forster, fancied that this promise of support referred to 
Williams's behaviour in the debates on the Petition of Right ; whereas any- 
one who will read Hacket's words with the least attention will see that it 
refers to the 'next session,' Williams's conduct is, perhaps, open to cen- 
sure, but it does not deserve all the blame which has been bestowed upon 
it. He was perfectly straightforward about ti.e petition. 


It is needless to pursue the speculation further. How could 
Eliot trust the overtures of a King who had just given 

Bucking- , ... 

ham's diffi. a bishopric to Montague and a rich living to Man- 
waring ? Nor could Williams be sure even of Buck- 
ingham. If Williams could speak of wise toleration, he could 
not speak otherwise than as an advocate of peace, and peace 
would be the ruin of the Duke. During the whole of the last 
five years Buckingham had been planning some effective blow 
against Spain or France, some brilliant achievement which was to 
fix upon himself the admiring gaze of a whole continent. How 
could he settle down to the ordinary drudgery of attending to 
the administration of the law, of balancing arguments for or 
against religious liberty, of improving the finances, and banishing 
corruption from the machinery of government ? On all these 
questions Williams and Laud, Wentworth and Weston, would 
have something to say. The brilliant Duke, who had for more 
than three years been in the King's stead in the eyes of the na- 
tion, would have to sit as a learner at the feet of those towards 
whom he had hitherto played the part of a providence upon earth. 
There was one man, with little real knowledge of England, 
who was eager to lead Buckingham in a more congenial path. 
Carieton's I n tne middle of June Carleton had returned from 
influence. fae Hague. He soon gained Buckingham's entire con- 
fidence, and received from him a promise that before long he 
should be Secretary in place of Conway, whose health had lately 
July 25. become impaired. He was soon raised, as Viscount 
toVvls'- 156 ' 1 Dorchester, to a higher step in the peerage. The 
coumcy. new Viscount was too completely dependent on Court 
favour to advocate a policy which would be unpalatable to his 
patron ; but there could be no doubt that if he found a favour- 
able moment he would advocate, not a general peace such as 
Wentworth and Williams desired, but a peace with France 
which would enable Buckingham to turn his attention to Ger- 
many and to reconquer popularity by achieving the recovery of 
the Palatinate. 1 

1 After Buckingham's death Dorchester wrote as follows: "My private 
respects are many testimonies of his love, and none greater than a purpose 
he declared unto me upon my last return from your Majesty and hath 


One step was taken by Buckingham to conciliate popular 
opinion. His retention of many offices had long been matter 
D . . of complaint, and he now divested himself of the 


bam's sur- Wardcnship of the Cinque Ports. That which might 

render of the . r . "* . ' 

Cinque have gamed him credit in 1625 could gain him 
no credit now, even if he had not chosen as his 
successor Suffolk, the cowardly Peer who had brought a false 
charge against Selden, and had shrunk from supporting the 
accusation. ' 

Almost at the same time an attempt was made to win back 
Restoration the friendship of the Dutch Government The East 
indiTm^to Indiamen seized in the autumn were restored, on an 
the Dutch, engagement that effectual steps should be taken to 
investigate the truth of the massacre of Amboyna. 2 

Was it indeed possible for Buckingham to shake off his past 

and to replace himself in the position from which he had started 

in 1624? One terrible object must have been ever 

thTfiege of before his eyes to remind him that things were not 

elie ' as they had been then. Rochelle was suffering the 
horrors of starvation, and he could not act as though he had 
no part in the matter. 

The city was by this time in great distress. Before the end 
of June famine was making fearful ravages. Grass and roots, 
with a little shell-fish and boiled leather, formed the only food 
of the women and children, the weak and infirm, though men 

since often reiterated unto me, of making me by his favour with the King, 
our gracious master, an instrument of better days than we have seen of late, 
he having had a firm resolution, whijh he manifested to some other persons 
in whom he reposed trust and confidence, as well as to myself, to walk new 
ways, but upon old grounds and maxims both of religion and policy, finding 
his own judgment to have been misled by errors of youth and persuasions 
of some persons he began better to know, so as I must confess to your 
Majesty, knowing otherwise the nobleness of his nature and great parts, 
and vigour both of mind and body, as I had full satisfaction in him myself, 
so I made no doubt but the world would soon have, notwithstanding the 
public hatred to which he was exposed. " Dorchester to Elizabeth, Aug. 
27, -S. P. Dom. cxiv. 17. 

' Suffolk's appointment, July 14, Patent Rolls. 4 Charles I. Part 28. 

1 Contarini to the Doge, Aug. , Ven. Transcripts^ R. 0. 


with arms in their hands were able to take advantage of their 
strength to extort for a time the means of subsisting 
Resistance on a somewhat better fare. Guiton, the champion 
ocheiie. Q J- res j stancej h a( j ne id out bravely as yet ; but now, 
for a moment, even Guiton's iron resolution gave way. He sent 
to ask Richelieu for terms. 1 Before the answer reached him he 
had changed his mind, and had resolved to resist to the uttei- 
most. A month later the starving crowd was crying 
^ u y ' out for surrender, and the cry of misery awoke the pity 
of men in high office. Guiton called upon his armed followers 
for support, and drove the officials from the town. Yet from 
what quarter could assistance be hoped for ? In the South of 
France Rohan was still in arms, but he was utterly unable to 
make head against the forces opposed to him. In other quarters 
Richelieu's success was telling. The incapable Soissons, who 
the year before had been meditating an attack upon France 
with the aid of England and Savoy, made his peace with the 
Cardinal, and the Duke of La Tremoille, a leader amongst the 
Huguenot aristocracy, came into the camp before Rochelle to 
profess himself a convert to the religion which was accompanied 
by the sure tokens of victory. Yet it was not on victory alone 
that Richelieu rested, so much as on the conviction which he 
was able to impart that he was not engaged in a war of religion. 
After Rochelle was taken, the French Protestants should be 
free, as before, to worship after their own fashion ; but the King's 
authority must be supreme. 

Amongst the French Protestants outside the city the re- 
sistance of Rochelle came to be regarded as a great misfortune, 
increasing their prospect of hard treatment from their Catholic 
neighbours. 2 Even in Rochelle itself the same opinion was 
gaining ground. At last, even Guiton could not prevent the 
opening of negotiations with Richelieu, though he contrived 
to delay them till he knew that the English fleet was really 
coming to his aid. 

1 That the offer came from Guiton, and not from Richelieu, is proved 
by M. Avenel. Lettres de Richelieu, iii. 125. 

* Substance of letters from Niort, July * , S. P. France. 


The enterprise in which Buckingham was now engaged was 
one in which success or failure would be equally ruinous. To 
allow the great Protestant city, which was suffering 
ham's pros- untold misery m reliance upon his plighted word, to 
be taken before his eyes, was to confirm the settled 
belief of the world in his incompetence if not in his treachery. 
Yet what would be the result of his success ? If the arms of 
the national King were beaten back from the walls of Rochelle, 
the innocent Protestant populations scattered over France 
would be regarded as the traitorous allies of the foreign 
enemy. It would be well if the horrors of the Revocation of 
the Edict of Nantes, combined with the horrors of the rule of 
the Jacobin Committee of Public Safety, were not anticipated 
Royal indignation would combine with popular bigotry to mark 
the Huguenots out for destruction. All this would happen 
because Buckingham and his master had failed to read the 
signs of the times, and had thought that it was as easy for them 
to interfere to prevent the national consolidation of France as 
it was for them to interfere to prevent the merely military con- 
solidation of Germany. 

Some perception of the dangers upon which he was running 
was beginning to dawn upon Buckingham. The Dutch and 
bangers in Venetian ambassadors had warned him from time 
his way. J.Q tj me th a t h e was throwing away his chances of 
again interfering in Germany. If once Catholic and Protestant 
were exasperated to the utmost against one another in France, 
there would be little hope of obtaining French co-operation 
against the House of Austria in the Empire, even if France 
did not throw all her weight on the side of Spain and the 
Emperor. Buckingham listened to what they said without 
impatience, though he had no definite plan to propose. 
Evidently he would have been glad to be relieved from the 
duty of succouring Rochelle, if only he could be relieved with- 
out dishonour. 

Difficulties of another sort now came upon Buckingham. 
During the summer months the trusty Sir John Coke had been 
at Portsmouth, toiling in vain to re-organise the fleet. "Give 
me leave to 'say freely," he had written to his patron on June 25, 


"that not only my abode here will now be of no use, but 
that every day whilst the fleet stayeth in this harbour 

August. J J * 

Slowness it will be less ready and worse provided to set to 
the fleet Ts sea. The victuals and provisions daily waste, and 
uted out. supplies cannot be made so fast ; and if it linger 
till towards autumn, when the winds will blow high, they will 
require more supplies of anchors, cables, and all things else 
than I fear all the stores of the navy can supply ; and, what is 
most important, the men, part by sickness, part by running 
away, do every day grow fewer." ' 

At last, at the beginning of August, an effort was to be made 
to bring order out of chaos. The King went down to South- 
wick, a house of Sir Daniel Norton, in the neighbourhood of 
Portsmouth, to superintend the fitting out of the fleet, whilst 
Buckingham remained in London to hasten the supplies which 
were needed for the expedition. The great Duke had to learn 
the weakness of the omnipotence which he was accused of pos- 
sessing. No man in England believed any longer in him or his 
undertakings. His own officers opposed the force of inertia to 
Aug. e. his reiterated commands. "I find nothing," he was 
Bucking- reduced to write, " of more difficulty and uncertainty 

ham s de- ' J ' 

spondency. than the preparations here for this service of Rochelle. 
Every man says he has all things ready, and yet all remains 
as it were at a stand. It will be Saturday night before all the 
victuals will be aboard, and I dare not come from hence till I 
see that despatched, being of such importance." 2 

On the day on which Buckingham wrote these despairing 
lines, Dorchester received a visit from Contarini, the Venetian 
Contarini ambassador, which threw a ray of light into the 
peacTwhh darkness. Contarini had been horror-struck at the 
France. j^ea of Buckingham's cold-blooded scheme for 
making Italy the battle-ground between France and Spain, 
and he now brought with him nothing less than a project of 
pacification with France which had been forwarded to him by 
Zorzi, the representative of the Republic in France. Dorchester 

1 Coke to Buckingham, June 25, Mefitntrnt MSS. 

7 Buckingham to Conway, Aug. 6, S. P. Dum. cxii. 32. 


received Contarini with open arms, and assured him that the 
Duke would always prefer a peace with France to a peace 
with Spain, if it could be had on honourable terms. The 
moment the fleet was no longer needed at Rochelle it would 
steer to the aid of the King of Denmark. 

Contarini then had an interview with Buckingham himself. 
The only difficulty in the way seemed to be that the King of 
His inter- France would m?ke it a point of honour not to treat 
Hudcin'^ w "h a f re ig n sovereign on the conditions to be granted 
ham. t his own subjects. It was at last agreed to propose 

that the Rochellese should treat directly with Louis. Nothing, 
said Buckingham, would satisfy him better than to find when 
Buckingham he arrived at Rochelle that the citizens had received 
the'ldTaof satisfaction from their own king. Zorzi should be 
i** 06 - entrusted with the negotiation, and if there was not 

time to settle everything before the Duke sailed, the good 
news might meet him when he arrived on the coast of France. 
Care, however, must be taken not to effect peace between 
Louis and the Huguenots without making peace between 
France and England at the same time. When everything was 
arranged there might be an interview between Buckingham 
and Richelieu to conclude peace under the walls of Rochelle. 1 
Once more the sanguine Buckingham was looking forward 

to carry out his old scheme of a Protestant war. 
for war in Morgan was ordered to gather together the remains 

of the garrison of Stade, and to carry them back to 
the aid of the King of Denmark. Dulbier had letters of credit 

1 Contarini to the Doge, with enclosures, Aug. , Ven. Transcripts, 
K, O, Carleton to Wake, Sept. 2, Court and Times, i. 391. Carleton 
Letters, xxi. Mr. Forster saw treachery in all this ; I see none. There 
was no intention to withdraw from fighting unless the negotiation was 
satisfactory, as is shown in a letter from Peblitz and Knyphausen to the 
King, in which the details of Buckingham's plans are given, Aug. 25, 
Melbourne MSS. The facts must be taken in connection with Clarendon's 
statement that the Duke, shortly before his death, thought of turning 
against Weston. If Cottington, as is most likely, was Clarendon's inform- 
ant, the story doubtless originated with Westor, and may be taken as 
Western's interpretation of the probable result of Buckingham's change of 


given him, with orders to keep his men on foot till the end of 
October. 1 

Buckingham's authority was great in England, but it was 

not everything. It was necessary for him to go down to Ports- 

Au r mouth to consult the King. On the i5th he was 

Buckingham back in London, and told Contarini that Charles was 

King 1 wishes in no hurry. He was afraid that if the negotiations 

began before the fleet arrived, the Rochellese would 

be disheartened and the French inspirited to make exorbitant 


On the i yth Buckingham was again at Portsmouth. Soubise, 
backed by two of the deputies from Rochelle, spoke vehemently 
Aug. 17. against peace. Buckingham himself was to some ex- 
Buckmgham tent shakeri- He told Contarini, who had followed 
mouth. hj mj t h at j t was impossible to trust Richelieu, who 
might communicate the whole negotiation to Spain if time were 
allowed him. Contarini was perfectly satisfied that Bucking- 
ham wished for peace, and was not making difficul- 

AUg. 22. 

Contarinis ties in order to create delay. He left him on the 
view' with understanding that they were to meet the next morn- 
the Duke. j n g m ^ Kj n g> s presence at Southwick, to come to 
a final decision on the matter. 2 

That interview was never to take place. Before the hour 
for the meeting arrived the great Duke had been struck down 
by the knife of a fanatic. 

The members of Buckingham's family had long been pre- 
pared for coming evil. Strange fancies, the offspring of de- 
spondency, lay, doubtless, at the root of the wild stories which 
have floated into the history of the time. Clarendon himself 

1 Contarini to the Doge, Aug. ^, Ven. Transcripts, R. 0, 

2 Contarini to the Doge, -^ , ibid. It does not appear from these 
letters what terms Contarini proposed ; but we know from another source 
that he meant to suggest that the King of France should raise the siege 
of Rochelle and grant religious liberty to the Protestants, on condition 
that the King of England should renounce all pretensians. to interfere 

between Louis and his subjects. Contarini to Dorches'.er, - ug ' 27 , S. P. 
f ranee. 


gravely told how the ghost of Sir George Villiers appeared to 
an ancient servitor, commanding him to warn his son to pro- 
pitiate the nation which he had offended ; and Buckingham's 
sister, the Countess of Denbigh, writing to him on the fatal 
23rd of August, ' bedewed the paper with her tears,' and fainted 
away as she thought of the dangers of his voyage. Even Buck- 
ingham himself, fearless as he was, was haunted by a feeling of 
insecurity. In taking leave of Laud he begged him to put his 
Majesty in mind of his poor wife and children. "Some adven- 
ture," he explained, " may kill me as well as another man." ' 

Yet he was not prepared for assassination. Some weeks 
before, Sir Clement Throgmorton had begged him to wear a 
shirt of mail beneath his clothes. "A shirt of mail," answered 
the Duke, " would be but a silly defence against any popular 
fury. As for a single man's assault, I take myself to be in no 
4u 22 danger. There are no Roman spirits left." 2 On the 
Mutiny at 22nd he had nearly fallen a victim to that popular 
fury which alone he dreaded. A sailor who had 
affronted him a fortnight before was condemned to death by 
a court-martial. As he was led to execution, an attempt was 
made to rescue him by force, and the guard was attacked by 
an angry mob of his comrades. Buckingham, followed by a 
train of mounted attendants, rode hastily to the defence. The 
assailants were driven on board ship. Two of them were killed 
in the struggle, and many more were wounded by the armed 
horsemen. Buckingham then accompanied the procession to 
the gibbet. But for the mutiny the poor man's life would have 
been spared, as the Duchess had interceded for him. The 
pardon could no longer be granted, if discipline was to be 
maintained. 3 Yet, even after this vindication of his authority, 
Buckingham was still in danger. The officers formed a circle 
round him, and brought him in safety to the house in the High 
Street, in the occupation of Captain Mason, the treasurer of 
the army, in which he was lodging. 

That night Buckingham was restless in his sleep, as well he 

1 Rel. Wottoniana, i. 335. 

2 Ibid. i. 233. D'Ewes, Autobiography, 381. 

3 A letter from one of the Highams. ROMS' s Diary. 


might be. The Duchess, anxious as ever, adjured him in the 
morning to take more precautions. At first he spoke harshly 
to her. Then, softened by her manifest affection, he told her 
that he would take her importunity as a sign of her love. 1 
About nine o'clock he came down to breakfast, in a room com- 
Aug. 23. municating by a dark passage with the central hall. 
u.eTehefo f f As he breakfasted news was brought that Rochelle 
Rocheiie. h ac [ b een relieved. Such news, if it had been true, 
would have set him free at once from the burthen which he 
had found too heavy to bear. A peace with France a 
triumphant peace would have speedily followed, and the fleet 
would have steered for the mouth of the Elbe, where Gliick- 
stadt still held bravely out for the King of Denmark and the 
Protestant cause. But, alluring as the prospect was, it was aL' 
the more necessary for Buckingham to be on his guard against 
false rumours. Soubise and the deputies of Rochelle protested 
warmly that the tale could not be true, and their vehement 
gesticulations gave rise, with those who were alike ignorant of 
the French language and the French temperament, to the sup- 
position that their eagerness to bear down contradiction was 
passing into angry menace. 

The breakfast party was soon at an end. Dorchester had 
come in from Southwick to fetch the Duke to the conference 
with Contarini, which was to settle the terms on which Charles 
would be ready to agree to peace when the fleet arrived at 
Rochelle. Buckingham rose to follow him. As he stepped 
into the crowded hall he stopped for an instant to speak to one 
of his colonels, Sir Thomas Fryer. Fryer was a short man, and 
Murder of t^ e Duke stooped to listen to him, As his attention 
the Duke. was t j ius engaged, a man who had been standing at 
the entrance of the passage into the breakfast room stepped 
forward, and struck him heavily with a knife in the left breast, 
saying, "God have mercy upon thy soul!" 2 as he dealt the 
blow. Buckingham had strength enough to draw the knife out 
of the wound, and crying ' Villain ! ' attempted to follow the 
assassin. But the blow had been struck by no feeble arm. 

1 Johnston's fitif. Rerum Britannicarum, 722. 

* Clarendon, i. 55. 


Tottering on for a step or two, the Duke fell heavily against a 
table and sank dead upon the ground. 1 

All was confusion for a moment: the immediate bystanders 
thought that Buckingham had been seized with a stroke of 
The mur- apoplexy; but the blood gushing from his mouth and 
derer seized. f rom fa e wound soon undeceived them. The mur- 
derer had slipped away into the kitchen, and men who had 
witnessed the quick words and flashing eyes of Soubise in the 
breakfast room, fancied that they had found there the expla- 
nation of the mystery. Shouts of " A Frenchman ! a French- 
man ! " were mingled with " Where is the villain ? Where is 
the butcher ? " In the excitement of the moment, the assassin 
fancied that his own name, Felton, was pronounced. He was 
no coward, and, stepping calmly into the hall with his sword in 
his hand, he confronted the crowd with the simple words, " I 
am the man. Here I am." But for the intervention of Dor- 
chester and a few others, he would have been cut down on the 
spot. It was only with difficulty that he was rescued and 
carried off for examination. 

Then followed a scene the like of which had never been 
witnessed by any present. Lady Anglesea, the Duke's sister- 
The Duchess in-law, was watching the crowd in the hall from a 
ham U in k ihe" g a H erv mto which the sleeping apartments opened, 
gallery. Flinging open the door of the chamber in which the 
Duchess was, she told her that the sad day which her loving 
heart had so long foreboded had come at last. Rushing out in 
her night-dress with a bitter cry, the poor lady, now a widow, 
looked down upon the bleeding, lifeless corpse of him who had 
been her only joy. " Ah, poor ladies ! " wrote one who was 
present ; " such was their screechings, tears, and distractions 
that I never in my life heard the like before, and hope never to 
hear the like again."* 

In a few minutes the body was taken up and removed 
to the room in which the Duke had breakfasted. There was 
no one there who thought it his duty to watch by the corpse 

1 Meade to Stuteville, Sept. 20, Ellis, ser. I, iii. 261. 
' Dorchester to Elizabeth, Ellis, ser. I, iii. 256, Aug. 27, 5". P. Dom. 
cxiv. 20. 


of him who had been the greatest man in England. The throng, 
amongst which were so many who had received everything at 
his hand, poured forth to spread the news or to provide for 
the dangers of the hour. The mortal remains of him who had 
stood apart in life from his fellow-men were left for the moment 
untended by any friendly hand. 1 

In the meanwhile the news was on the way to Southwick. 
The messenger who bore the tidings found the King at morning 
The King prayers, and whispered the tale of horror in his ear. 
informed. jf ^g workings o f his countenance betrayed the 
emotion within, he did not rise or leave the room till the service 
was at an end. Then going into his own apartment he threw 
himself upon his bed, and with bitter tears and lamentations 
gave free vent to his sorrow. 2 

Charles might well grieve for the loss of the only real per- 
sonal friend he ever had ; but with personal sorrow was doubt- 
less mingled another feeling. " His Majesty," says a contempo- 
rary letter- writer, "since his death, hath been used to call him 
his martyr, and to say the world was much mistaken in him. 
For whereas it was commonly thought he ruled his Majesty, it 
was clear otherwise, having been his Majesty's most faithful and 
obedient subject in all things ; as his Majesty would make 
hereafter sensibly appear to the world." 3 There was doubtless 
much exaggeration in the view that Buckingham did no more 
than carry out the King's orders. Charles was the last person to 
discover how much he had been influenced. There was, how- 
ever, more truth in it than history has been willing to acknow- 
ledge. The secrets of the intercourse between the two men 
will, in all probability, never be revealed ; but there is every 
reason to believe that Charles's tenacity and self-sufficiency had 
to the full as large a share in the mischief as the presumptuous 
optimism of his favourite. 

1 Ril. Wotteniana, i. 234. 

* Clarendon, \. 62. Contarini distinctly speaks of the King as showing 
trouble in his countenance ; and it is likely enough that the contrary story, 
which has been usually accepted, was an exaggeration based upon the fact 
that the King did not leave his place. 

1 Meade to Stuteville, Sept 20, Court and Timer, i. 395. 


It was for Charles a melancholy duty to discover the mo- 
tives of the assassin. John Felton, a gentleman springing from 
story of an old Suffolk family, had served as a lieutenant in 
Feiton. tne expedition to Rhe\ The captain of his regiment 
had been killed and he had expected promotion. But promo- 
tion, on account of some rule of the service, was refused him. 
When he applied a second time, the Duke, to whom he ap- 
pealed asking how he was to live, had, according to one ac- 
count, told him that he might hang himself if he could not 
live. 1 Returning to England, he remained in London, a moody, 
discontented man, whiling away his time by much reading. At 
last he could bear his misery no longer. Besides his own special 
grievance, he was weighed down by the common misfortune of 
all who entered the King's service. His pay amounted to some 
seventy or eighty pounds, and not a penny of it was forthcoming. 
At the beginning of August he was deeply in debt, and he saw 
no means of sustaining life much longer. His reading brought 
to him the persuasion that the man who had cut short his 
career was a public enemy. The Remonstrance of the Com- 
mons taught him that the Duke was the cause of all the 
grievances of the kingdom. A book written by Dr. Eglesham, 
a physician of James I., in which Buckingham was accused of 
poisoning the late King, and the Marquis of Hamilton as well, 
painted his oppressor in still darker colours. 2 Certain pro- 
positions culled out of a book called the Golden Epistles, 
which taught him that all things done for the good, profit, and 
benefit of the commonwealth should be accounted lawful, con- 
firmed him in the resolution to rid the country of its tyrant. 3 

On the i pth his resolution was finally taken. He himself 
always ascribed his determination to the reading of the Remon- 
strance. One who saw him in his disconsolate condition not 

1 This is but a way of reconciling Wotton's statement that Felton was 
satisfied with the Duke's answer with the other story that he received from 
the Duke the reply which is given above, and which he could not have re- 
garded as satisfactory. He said he was twice rejected, so both accounts 
may be true. 

2 Rel. Wottoniana, i. 232. 

* Inclosure (Sept. 19) in Meade's letter to Stuteville, Court and 7'imes 
i. 399. Duppa's Report^ Sept. II, S. P. Dom. cxvi. 101. 

1623 JOHN FELTON. 353 

long before, had told him that it was not fit for a soldier to want 
courage. " If I be angered or moved," replied Felton, " they 
shall find I have courage enough." It was quite true. At a 
cutler's shop on Tower Hill he bought a tenpenny knife, and, 
as his left hand was maimed, he sewed a sheath for it into his 
pocket, that he might draw it easily with one hand. As he 
passed through Fleet Street he went into a church and left 
his name to be prayed for as 'a man much discontented in 
mind.' So he passed on to Portsmouth, making his way 
mostly on foot, but riding whenever he fell in with a friendly 
waggoner. On the morning of the 2yd he was at Mason's 
house, ready for his victim. 

Felton's only care was to assure the world that 

The writing , . , . 

in the crown he was an executioner, not an assassin. In the crown 
of his hat he had sewn a paper on which he had 
written, to persuade others as he had persuaded himself, that 

Nought he did in hate, but all in honour : 

" If I be slain, let no man condemn me, but rather con- 
demn himself. It is for our sins that our hearts are hardened 
and become senseless, or else he had not gone so long un- 


Then again, as if he had just risen from the perusal of those 
propositions in the Golden Epistles, of which he kept a copy in 
his trunk : 

" He is unworthy of the name of a gentleman or soldier, in 
my opinion, that is afraid to sacrifice his life for the honour of 
God, his King, and country. 


If Felton stood alone in conceiving his murderous purpose, 
he did not stand alone in regarding it with complacency after 
Hispopu- it was accomplished. The popular feeling about 
Buckingham was something like that with which the 
despot of an old Greek city was regarded. He had placed him- 
self above his king, his country, and the laws of his country, and 

' Doichester to Elizabeth,, ser. I, iii. 256. 


he had no right to the sympathy of honest men. When the 
news was known in London, men went about with smiling 
faces, and healths were drunk to Felton on every side. 1 " God 
bless thee, little David ! " cried an old woman to 
the slayer of the Goliath of her time, as he passed 
through Kingston on his way to the Tower. Outside the 
Tower itself a dense throng was gathered to see him, and 
friendly greetings of " The Lord comfort thee ! The Lord be 
merciful unto thee ! " were the last sounds which rang in his ears 
as the gates closed upon him. 2 Nor was the feeling of exulta- 
tion confined to the illiterate and uneducated. Even Nether- 
sole, courtier as he was, spoke of the murder as the removal 
of the stone of offence by the hand of God, and as a means 
by which the King might be brought to join in perfect unity 
with his people. 3 Verses expressive of satisfaction were passed 
in manuscript from hand to hand. One of these copies was 
believed, even in such a well-informed company as that which 
met at Sir Robert Cotton's at Westminster, to have been the 
work of Ben Jonson himself, who, as poet laureate, was officially 
bound to abstain from sympathy with the national rejoicing. 
The charge was thought sufficiently serious to demand inquiry 
by the Attorney- General, and the verses were finally traced to 
Towniey's a minister, Zouch Townley, a devoted admirer of the 
verses. poet, who had caught the ring of Jonson's versifica- 
tion. Townley avoided punishment by a prudent flight to 
Holland ; but his words remain as a startling memorial of what 
a student of Christchurch and a minister of the gospel could 
write under the impressions caused by Buckingham's rule. 
The poem is a long exhortation to Felton to enjoy his bondage 
and to bear with courage the tortures preparing for him. 
Townley ended with words of encouragement which doubtless 
met with a hearty reception from their readers : 

" Farewell ! for thy brave sake we shall not send 
Henceforth commanders enemies to defend ; 

1 Nethersole to Carlisle, Aug. 24, S. P. Dom. cxiv. 7. 

1 Meade to Stu'eville, Sept. 13, 20, Court and Times, i. 394, 395. 

1 Ntthersole to Carlisle, Aug. 24, S. P. Dom. cxiv. 7. 


Nor would it our just monarchs please 

To keep an admiral to lose the seas. 

Farewell ! Undaunted stand, and joy to be 

Of public sorrow the epitome. 

Let the Duke's name solace and crown thy thrall, 

All we for him did suffer thou for all ; 

And I dare boldly write, as thou darest die, 

Stout Felton, England's ransom he doth lie." ' 

When assassination was thus lauded, it is no wonder that those 
few to whom Buckingham was not a monster regarded with 
horror the deed which threatened to refer political disputes to 
the arbitration of the dagger. To Charles and Laud this out- 
burst of hatred conveyed no warning of the risk of conducting a 
government in defiance of opinion ; it was simply the opening 
of the floodgates of iniquity, which they were in duty bound to 
keep closed at all hazard to themselves. Such a feeling as this 
could alone account for a strange passage in the life of William 
Chillingworth, the divine whom all men now combine to honour. 
He was at this time a Fellow of Trinity at Oxford, and to his 
argumentative mind, with its eagerness to try every conclusion 
by its own logical tests and its dislike of foregone conclusions, 
the Puritan dogmatism was extremely hateful, especially when 
it was found in conjunction with a noisy, irreverent temper. 
Gin at Ox- Amongst the members of the College was a certain 
ford. Alexander Gill, a man of some abilities, who was 

assistant to his father, the head master of St. Paul's School, and 
who, in that capacity, had contrived to impress at least one of 
his pupils, John Milton, with the idea of the splendour of his 
talents. The younger Gill, however, was much given to bluster 
and wild talk of every kind, and one day towards the end of 
August he came down to Oxford full of delight at the Duke's 
murder. " The King," he said, " is fitter to stand in a Cheapsicle 
shop, with an apron before him, and say ' What lack ye? ' than 
to govern a kingdom." Then he proposed Felton's health, 
and talked rashly about the Duke and the late King beini^ 
in hell together. All this Chillingworth, in disgust at the 
ribaldry, related to Laud. Gill was brought before the Star 

1 Preface to Brace's Calendar, 1628-9, viii. Court and Tit/us, i. 427. 
A A 2 


Chamber, and only escaped the full infliction of a terrible 
sentence by Laud's intercession on the ground of his father's 
position and services. 1 

The day before Felton was brought to the Tower, the 

Duke's funeral was hurried over 'in as poor and confused 

Sept. ii. manner as hath been seen.' At ten o'clock at night 

of R^khfg- a c ffi n was brought to Westminster Abbey, attended 

ham's by on iy about a hundred mourners. Yet even this, if 

Sept. 10. the story told can be believed, was mere show. The 

His body body had the day before been privately interred in 

buried the . J J . l ' 

day before, the Abbey, lest the people in their madness should 
rise to offer insult to the remains of the man whom they hated. 
Even the sham funeral was attended with marks of extra- 
ordinary precaution. "To prevent all disorders," we are told, 
" the trainbands kept a guard on both sides of the way all along 
from Wallingford House to Westminster Church, beating up 
their drums loud, and carrying their pikes and muskets upon 
their shoulders as in a march, not trailing them at their heels, 
as is usual in mourning." 

The dishonour shown to the remains of the Duke ceased 
at the Abbey doors. His place had already been marked out 
by "the excessive favour of his sovereign. In the Chapel of 
Henry VII., set apart in older days for members of the Royal 
house, Buckingham had received permission to take possession 
of a vault for his own family. It had already been twice 
opened. There lay his eldest son, a child who had died in 
infancy. There lay his sister's son, young Philip Fielding. 
Now the vault was open for the third time, to receive the 
mortal remains of him who whilst living had stood amongst 
kings, and who was not to be divided from them in his death. 

Charles at first spoke of erecting a stately monument to the 

memory of him whom he had loved so well ; but he had no 

money to spare, and Weston warned him against the 

ham's monu- costly project. " I would be loth," said the Lord 

Treasurer, "to tell your Majesty what the world 

would say, not only here, but all Christendom over, if you 

1 The facts are collected from Meade's letters and the State Papers in 
Masson's Life cf Milton, i. 177. 


should erect a monument for the Duke before you set up one 
for King James, your father." Charles took the warning to 
heart, and left his friend without the token of respect with 
which he had intended to honour him. 1 At last, the widow to 
whom he had ever been the most loved of husbands, in spite 
of his many infidelities, stepped in and built that pretentious 
tomb in which the bad taste of an age in which grace and 
beauty were forgotten was signally manifested. Yet with an 
unconscious irony the piled marble points the moral of the story 
of him who sleeps below. Unlike the figure of the Duke of 
Lennox on the opposite side of the chapel, the form of Buck- 
ingham lies open to the eye of day without the superincumbent 
shadow of a canopy to shroud him from the crowd whose ob- 
servation in life he loved to court. The report of his actions 
is committed not to some ' star-ypointing pyramid ' firmly and 
immovably based upon the firm earth, but to a sprightly Fame, 
who, with bursting cheeks, proclaims with a trumpet the great 
deeds of the Duke. On either side of her are two slender 
obelisks, which would evidently succumb to the first gust of 
wind that blew, and which rest upon a foundation of skulls. 
" Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return," is the sentence 
written upon the works of him who has built his house upon 
the sand. The one touch of human interest in the tomb is 
the attendance of the children, who had been taught by their 
loving mother to reverence their father's name. The Duchess, 
in truth, had no doubt of her lost husband's perfections. In the 
inscription which she caused to be affixed to the monument, 
she spoke with sweet remembrance of his gifts of mind and 
body, of his liberality, and above all of his singular humanity 
and incomparable gentleness of disposition. To her he was 
still the enigma of the world, who had been styled at one time 
the parent, at another time the enemy, of his country. She, at 
least, herself cherishing in her heart a warm attachment for the 
ancient forms of religion, could speak with wonderment, if not 
perhaps with half-concealed sarcasm, of the strange fate which 
caused him to be charged with attachment to the Papacy whilst 

1 Meade to Stuteville, Nov. i, Court and Times, i. 419. 


he was making war against Papists, and to be slain by a Pro- 
testant whilst he was doing what he could to give assistance to 
Protestants. ' 

The solution of the enigma is not to be found in the popular 
imagination of the day, and still less in the popular history 
Career of w ^ich has been founded upon it. Buckingham owed 
Bucking- his rise to his good looks, to his merry laugh and 

ham. . . ,..,>, 

winning manners ; but to compare him with Gaves- 
ton is as unfair as it would be to compare Charles with Ed- 
ward II. As soon as his power was established, he aimed at 
being the director of the destinies of the State. Champion in 
turn of a war in the Palatinate, of a Spanish alliance, and of a 
breach first with Spain and then with France, he nourished a 
fixed desire to lead his country in the path in which for the 
time being he thought that she ought to walk. His abilities 
were above the average, and they were supported by that kind 
of patriotism which clings to a successful man when his objects 
are, in his own eyes, inseparable from the objects of his country. 
If, however, it is only just to class him amongst ministers rather 
than amongst favourites, he must rank amongst the most incap- 
able ministers of this or of any other country. He had risen too 
fast in early life to make him conscious of difficulty in anything 
which he wished to do. He knew nothing of the need of living 
laborious days which is incumbent on those who hope to achieve 
permanent success. He thought that eminence in peace and 
war could be carried by storm. As one failure after another 
dashed to the ground his hopes, he could not see that he 
and his mode of action were the main causes of the mischief. 
Ever ready to engage in some stupendous undertaking, of 
which he had never measured the difficulties, he could not 
understand that to the world at large such conduct must seem 
entirely incomprehensible, and that when men saw his own 
fortunes prospering in the midst of national ruin and disgrace, 
they would come to the mistaken but natural conclusion that 
he cared everything for his own fortunes and nothing for the 
national honour. 

1 Keepe, Momtmenta IVestmonasteriensia, 283. Compare Stanley's 
Memorials of Westminster Abbey, 236. 


Buckingham's ignorance of the real basis of the popular 
indignation was fully shared by the King. The explanations 
Feiton of Felton, natural as they were, were received with 
She 6 ' 1 dee P incredulity by Charles. He could hot but 
rack. believe that Felton was the instrument of a wide- 

spread conspiracy. Dorset, who was one of the councillors 
employed to examine the prisoner, threatened him with the rack. 
Felton replied that if he were put on the rack he would accuse 
Dorset himself of being his accomplice. 1 Still the wish to wring 
the supposed truth out of the murderer was strong with Charles. 
On November 1 3 he ordered that the judges should 

Nov. 13. J 

The judges be consulted whether Felton could be tortured by 

consulted. -i , , . j , . , 

law, as he was not inclined to use his prerogative as 

it had been so often used in former reigns. To this question 

NOV. 14. the judges unanimously returned an answer in the 

NOV. 27. negative. 2 On the 27th, therefore, Felton was at 

denmedand last brought up for trial. He pleaded guilty. Some 

ted ' compunction he showed for his deed, though the 

repentance was probably not very deep. He asked that the 

hand which had been the instrument of the crime might be cut 

off before he suffered. His request was, of course, refused, as 

contrary to the law. 3 On the 2pth he was hanged at Tyburn. 

The body was then carried down to Portsmouth, to be suspended 

in chains in the sight of those amongst whom his crime had 

been committed. 

The murdered Buckingham had no successor in Charles's 

1 to Stuteville, Sept, 19, Court and Times, i. 399. 

* Mr. Jardine, in his Reading on the use of Torture, has reduced this 
matter to its true dimensions. Torture had been allowed by custom as 
inflicted by the prerogative, but not by law. The judges only said what 
Charles ought to have known already. Torture was inflicted as late as 
1640 by prerogative. I do not agree with Mr. Jardine in throwing dis- 
credit on Rushworth's narrative, or in connecting the inquiry which was 
made on Nov. 13 with the affair about the hand which took place on the 
ajth. The position Charles was in after the grant of the Petition of Right 
would make him shy of using his prerogative unless he felt himself to be 
unquestionably justified in doing so. 

* WhitelocUe's story that Charles wished the hand to be cut ff is no 
doubt a mere substitution of Charles for Felton. 


affections. No other man could bring with him the long 
Se tember na bitude of personal friendship, or the promptness of 
Buckingham decision made palatable by winning gracefulness of 
"nch e ^ie?s manner, which had enabled the late Lord Admiral, 
under the show of deference, to guide his sovereign 
at his pleasure. 

It was easy to dispose of Buckingham's offices, to give the 
Mastership of the Horse to Holland, and to place the Ad- 
His offices miralty in commission, in order that the profits of the 
given away. pj ace m jght be applied to the payment of debts which 
Buckingham had contracted, for the most part in his master's 
service. Charles, however, marked his sense of personal loss 
by refusing to give away the vacant Garter which his friend 
had worn. 1 

Buckingham had been more than a Master of the Horse 
or a Lord Admiral. He had been even more than a Prime 
The govern- Minister is in a modern Cabinet. His word had 
taken bythe gi ven tne impulse to the whole machine of govern- 
Kmg. ment. Every act had been submitted to his approval. 

Every office had been filled by personal followers, who had 
learned that their fortunes could be made or marred by his nod. 
Into this supreme direction of affairs Charles stepped at once. 
He announced his intention of presiding continually at the 
Council, and ordered each minister to report directly to himself 
on the business entrusted to his charge. 

Of industrious attention to business Charles was eminently 
capable. Countless corrections upon the drafts of despatches 
Charles and state papers show how diligent he was in mould- 
of a o^m- r m tne mm utest turns of expression to his taste, and 
ment. now little latitude he allowed to those who served 

under him. For government in the higher sense he had no 
capacity. He was as obstinate in refusing to abandon any 
plan which he had once formed, as he was irresolute in the face 
of any obstacles which might arise in the way of its execution. 
Hence the contrast between his treatment of difficulties at 
home and abroad. Within the kingdom, where his authority 

> Contarini to the Doge, ^-?, I'm. Transcripts, ff. O. 

1628 CHARLES AND WESTON. . .361 

was undisputed, he required prompt obedience without troubling 
himself about the growing ill-will which was storing itself up 
to become the source of future trouble. With the Kings and 
States of the Continent, who had no thought of taking his word 
for law, he never succeeded in gaining his ends. Constant 
repetition of the same demand without any intention to offer 
advantages in return, or any power to extort by prompt action 
the object which he sought, made Charles's diplomacy a by word 
on the Continent, as his father's had been before. 

From the beginning of the reign it had been the fault of 

Charles's foreign policy that it rested rather on the supposed 

necessity of giving satisfaction to the personal honour 

Charles s . " . , . 

foreign of the King than on the well-understood interests, 
either of England or of the nations of the Continent. 
Because he had himself failed to secure a wife at Madrid, and 
because the Elector Palatine was his brother-in-law, he had 
engaged in war with Spain. Because his guarantee to the 
treaty between Louis XIII. and his Huguenot subjects had 
been disregarded, he had engaged in a war with France. As 
long as Buckingham lived Charles had struck blow after blow 
in the vain hope of recovering the Palatinate and saving Ro- 
chelle. With Buckingham no longer at his side, it was likely 
that words would take the place of deeds, and that he would 
write despatches and instruct ambassadors, instead of arming 
fleets and appointing generals ; but it was not likely that he 
would frankly acknowledge that events were stronger than 
himself, or that he would give up the hope of obtaining objects 
which he still believed to be desirable, because they were be- 
yond his reach. 

Everything thus combined to increase the influence of the 
minister whose voice was persistently raised in favour of peace. 
Oiaracterof Western, the Lord Treasurer, was neither a high- 
Weston. minded nor a far-sighted politician. His wife and 
some of his children were acknowledged recusants ; and though 
he himself conformed to the English Church, it was generally 
believed that but for the allurements of temporal interest he 
would have followed in their steps. He was outrageously rude 
to those whom he could afford to despise, and obsequiously 


subservient to those upon whom he was obliged to depend. 
He alone of all who had advocated the maintenance of peace 
n 1624 had contrived to keep his place in Buckingham's 
favour by promptly accommodating his actions to the wishes of 
the favourite ; and men were already beginning to laugh at the 
timidity with which he shifted his ground whenever a persist- . 
ence in the course which he had adopted would be likely to be 
accompanied by consequences unpleasant to himself. 

Like Middlesex, Weston was a careful and economical 
administrator of the treasury, though he took good care to 
His political ^ his own pockets, by means even more unscru- 
induence. pulous than those to which Middlesex had re- 
sorted. Like Middlesex, too, he was now endeavouring to 
impress upon the Government the policy of complete absten- 
tion from foreign complications, except when intervention was 
absolutely required by the material interests of England. The 
men of the sixteenth century had handed down traditions of 
heroism displayed on behalf of the Continental Protestants. 
Weston wished to hear of nothing of the kind. He cared for 
England alone ; but he cared for England with no exalted 
patriotism. It was not to him the land of ordered liberty and 
ancient pre-eminence in arts and arms. It was a land the 
people of which it was his business to make rich, in order that 
they might be more easily made obedient. 

The influence of Weston would thus bring itself to bear on 
that side of Charles's character which had been neglected by 
Buckingham. Buckingham had encouraged Charles's 
fluen'ce upon unyielding persistency, and had relieved his help- 
charies. i essn ess by his own promptness in action. Weston 
taught him that inactivity was in itself a virtue, and that the best 
policy was to do nothing. But he did not weary him by con- 
tradiction. He offered himself as the instrument of his will, 
whatever it might be, certain that something would occur in 
the end to throw insuperable difficulties in his way. No 
minister, in fact, could hope to keep his place for an hour who 
should venture to inform Charles that the recovery of the 
Palatinate was beyond his power to effect. 

for the present, however, it was evidently not in Charles's 


power to do anything for the Palatinate. When great men die, 
or are driven from office, their works survive them. The testa- 
ment of Richelieu was written in the triumphant story of victory 
which decorated the annals of his weaker successor. The 
legacy of Buckingham to his country was failure and disgrace. 
All through August the misery of Rochelle was growing blacker. 
The inhabitants were dying by hundreds. Rats and other 
A unclean animals were no longer to be met with. 

Misery at Leather and parchment boiled up with a little 
sugar were regarded as delicacies. Entire families 
perished together. Even the soldiers, for whom the scanty 
supplies in the town had been husbanded to the utmost, were 
dying of sheer starvation. Voices were everywhere raised for 
a surrender, and it was with difficulty that Guiton was able 
to induce his fellow-citizens to hold out till the English fleet 
appeared. l 

Charles had thrown himself eagerly into the preparations 
for succouring the beleaguered town, and on September 7 the 
fleet weighed anchor. Buckingham's place as Ad- 
miral was filled by the Earl of Lindsey, who, as 

Lord Willoughby, had commanded the futile ex- 
pedition which had been driven back by a gale in the Bay of 
Biscay in the summer of i626. 2 

On the 1 8th Lindsey anchored off St. Martin's, 
Anchors off the scene of Buckingham's failure of the year before. 
St. Martm s. j} a fflj n g ca i ms an( j contrary winds prevented an 

immediate attack, and it was not till the 23rd that any attempt 

Se ( was made to succour the starving city. The diffi- 

Prospcctsof culties were almost if not entirely insuperable. Up 

lck ' the narrow channel which led to the port lay the 

two moles advancing from either side, the space left between 

them to admit of the scour of the tide being covered by a pali- 

sade. In front of the moles were thirty or forty vessels, which 

in themselves would have been unable to oppose a persistent 

1 Tory to Meade, Nov. 28, ibid. i. 437. Aryere, Hist, de la Rochelle, 
ii. 306. 

: Dorchester to Carlisle, Aug. 30 ; Meade to Stuteville, Sept. 23, 
Court and Times, i. 388, 398. 


resistance to the far more numerous English force ; but the 
harbour swarmed with boats and small craft laden with armed 
soldiers, and artillery was posted on each point of vantage at 
the entrance of the harbour, so that an advancing squadron 
could only reach the enemy under a cross fire of cannon and 
musketry from either side, as well as under the fire of the guns 
upon the moles. 

Lindsey, unhappily for his chances, had other risks to en- 
counter besides those which awaited him from the enemy. His 
crews were no more ready to follow him into danger 
thusiasmln than Denbigh's had been to follow their commander 

leet- in the spring. The system which had ruined the Cadiz 
expedition was still at full work. Now, as then, men had been 
brought together by compulsion, and those in authority had 
fancied that human valour and enthusiasm could be had to 
order, like so much wood and iron. When the word was given 
to attack, the masters of the merchantmen which had been 
pressed into the service complained that they were being ex- 
posed to danger by being ordered to the front, where they 
might possibly be deserted by the King's ships, which had 
been directed to follow in support. The King's ships drew 
too much water to come to close quarters, and the Admiral 
could only order them to go as near the danger as possible 
ineffectual without running aground. It was to no purpose, 
attack. The merchantmen remained at such a distance that 
after firing for two hours the whole fleet lost but six men. No 
attempt was made to board the enemy, though Lindsey be- 
lieved the operation to be perfectly feasible. 

The next day's attack was equally ineffectual. In vain 

orders were issued to the commanders to carry their vessels 

nearer to the danger and to send in fire-ships to 

Sept. 24. 

Second grapple with the enemy. Five or six fire-ships were 
attack fails. seni drifting in, without any attempt to direct their 
course, and the Frenchmen in the boats easily towed them 
aside and ran them ashore where they could do no harm. Not 
one ship of the French fleet was set on fire. Not one English- 
man was slain in the attempt. 

In spite of these pitiable results Lindsey could not make 


up his mind to relinquish hope. In a few days the spring tide 

would enable him t'~> bring his largest ships nearer 

News from to the mole. Time, however, pressed. A messenger 

town ' from the town succeeded in reaching the English fleet 

with a tale of desperate misery, whilst the deputies who had 

accompanied the fleet from England talked of placing the 

town in the hands of the King of England, as if he had any 

chance of taking possession of it in any other than a figurative 

way. 1 

Walter Montague had accompanied the fleet in order to 
carry out the negotiations which had occupied Buckingham 
on the eve of his assassination. Hitherto no use 
Montague's had been made of his services ; but, as the pros- 
negotiation. p ect Q re ]j ev j n g R oc helle was becoming dubious, 

Lindsey resolved to send him to the Cardinal on pretence of 
effecting a change of prisoners, to see what the French might 
have to say. Montague had no reason to complain of his 
reception. Richelieu received him with all courtesy, showed 
him over the moles, and convinced him that the works were 
impregnable by any force which Lindsey could bring against 
them. 2 Naturally Richelieu refused to quit his hold upon 
Rochelle. The city, he said, must surrender to its own sove- 
reign. It was not to Charles's interest to support rebellion. 
He would, however, assure him that there should be no per- 
secution. As soon as the King returned to Paris 

Oct. 7. 

Richelieu's after the town had yielded, he would issue a decla- 
ration confirming to the Huguenots freedom of 
worship in the places in which they had formerly enjoyed it. 
The prizes taken at sea, with the exception of the ship unfairly 
seized in the neutral waters of the Texel, 3 might be kept by 
the captors. The Queen's household might be regulated on 
the scheme negotiated by Bassompierre. The moment that 
these terms were accepted Louis would turn his arms against 
Spain in Italy, and would come to an understanding with 

1 Lindsey to the King, Oct. 3, S. P. Dom. cxiii. 7. Soubise to the 
King, Oct. 2, S. P. France. 

2 to the Count of Morette, Oct. \, S. P. France. 


' See page 187. 


England and her allies on the best mode of assisting the King 
of Denmark. 1 

With these terms Montague was despatched to England, 

with instructions to inform the King that the fleet was in need 

o of victuals and munitions. On October 14 he ap- 

Montague in peared before Charles. His message could hardly 

fail to carry conviction that the relief of Rochelle 

was hopeless, and that it was absurd to expect better terms 

than those which were now offered. Charles, too, had need 

, of his forces in another direction. In the beginning 


Mission of of September a Danish ambassador, Rosencrantz, 

Rosencrantz. 11-1 . /~M i > e 

had arrived to represent Christian s urgent need of 
men and money. Charles accordingly desired Morgan to carry 
to Gliickstadt the 1,200 men who formed the shattered remains 
of the garrison of Stade, and to do his utmost to relieve 
Krempe. Before the end of the month, commissioners were 
appointed to treat with Rosencrantz on the best means of 
rendering more considerable assistance. 2 They would find 
their task all the lighter if the ships and men under Lindsey 
could be spared for service in the North. Contarini too 
continued to offer the mediation which had been interrupted 
by Buckingham's assassination. He had the unusual satisfac- 
tion of finding his advances accepted by men of every shade 
of opinion. Weston was delighted to help on peace in any 
shape ; whilst Pembroke and Dorchester looked upon a treaty 
with France as a necessary preliminary to an active co-opera- 
tion with the German Protestants. 

In the view taken by Pembroke and Dorchester Charles 
apparently concurred. In conversation with Contarini he 
even went so far as to express a preference for the plan which 
he had rejected when proposed by Gustavus in 1624, that 
France should carry on war against Spain in Italy, whilst 

1 Propositions sent by Montague, Oct. 7 (?) ; Lindsey to the King, 
Oct. 7, S. P. Dom. cxviii. 27. 

- Proposition by Rosencrantz, Sept. 4 ; Commission to Weston ard 
others. Sept. 28, S. P. Denmark. Carleton to the Privy Council, 
Oct, 20, S. P. Holland. 


England and the Protestant Powers combated the Emperor in 
Northern Germany.' 

Contarini had further found a warm ally in the Queen. 
Henrietta Maria had been gradually accustoming herself to the 
The Queen loss of her French attendants. Buckingham's death 
^heTrench na< ^ ^ een tne removal of a wall of separation between 
alliance. herself and her husband. When the confidential friend 
was gone, Charles turned for consolation to his wife. At last 
he tasted the pleasures of a honeymoon. She was now in her 
nineteenth year, ignorant and undisciplined, but bright and 
graceful, with flashing eyes and all the impulsive vehemence of 
her race. Her pouting sulkiness had been the response to her 
husband's cold assertion of superiority, and when he threw 
aside his reserve, and sought but to bask in the sunshine of 
her smiles, she repaid him with all the tenderness of a loving 
woman. Courtiers had many stories to tell of the affection of 
this pair so long estranged, and it was soon announced that a 
direct heir to the English throne was to be expected. 
Of politics the Queen was completely ignorant, and 
it was always difficult to interest her in them, unless some 
personal question was involved ; but she could not be in- 
different to the continuance of strife between her brother and 
her husband. 

In spite, however, of all the influence brought to bear 
upon him, Charles received the overtures brought by Mon- 
tague coldly. Montague carried back to France 
Charles the following reply : " His Majesty cannot admit to 
French' * hearken to any accommodation wherein his Majesty 
shall leave those of the Religion in worse condition 
than he found them when he was invited by the King of France 
to treat for them, and his ambassadors were received to stand as 
pledges for the performance of the conditions. If, therefore, 
his brother the King of France will show his affection to the 
common good of Christendom by taking away the cause of the 
difference, and put those of the Religion into their promised 
liberties, and dis-siege Rochelle, his Majesty will not only ro 

- Contarini's despatches give full particulars of his conversations with 
the King and others. 


enter into a stro'ng league and friendship with his dear brother, 
but will endeavour to draw not only the Duke of Savoy, but all 
his other friends and allies into a resolution for the re-estab- 
lishing of the affairs of Italy and Germany, and to enter into 
it with united counsel and forces as to the defence of the com- 
mon cause ; and therein, in respect of the near correspondence 
that is between them, his Majesty doubts not to prevail with 
them." 1 

Evidently his Majesty was fitted to control the affairs of 
some other than this world of ours, where men have to submit 
to superior force, if they will not yield to superior reason. 
More ridiculous demand was never made than this, that after 
all that had passed Louis should raise the siege of a city which 
would in a few days be in his hands. 

Charles's letter to Lindsey did not echo the despondent 

tone of the Admiral's despatches. " We will give you no other 

charge or advice," he wrote, " than that you take 

Lindveyto care of our honour, the honour of our nation, and 

ere ' your own honour, according to the rules of wisdom 
and reason and the ancient practice of former generals. We 
see that the passage must be opened before the town can be 
relieved. And we conceive the French ships must be beaten 
before the passage can be opened, which we think can best 
be done while they are on float, but cannot be done without 
hazard of some of our ships, and loss of our subjects whom we 
much more tender. But our honour and our pious intention 
to relieve those distressed churches give way to such actions 
as may clear our affections and intentions in that point. And 
therefore we do call for it at your hands, that, according to your 
wisdom and noble disposition, upon which we rely, you make 
a vigorous trial for beating of their ships, and that being done, 
and when you shall have applied your engines of war and your 
courage and industry to force the passage for the relief of the 
town to which we pray God give success if it prove unfeas- 
ible, we shall hold ourself to be excused to the world, and that 
you have worthily acquitted yourself to us. We will only add 

1 The King's answer, Oct. 14 (?), S. P. Dom, cxviii. 68. 


this word, that whereas the French ! have often made the work 
feasible to us, and offered to lead on our men, and instruct 
their courages by example, we would have you let them know 
that we expect at their hands that they do now by some notable 
action make good their former boastings, howsoever we do rel> 
upon the courage of our own subjects, which we hope will 
never deceive us, and particularly in this occasion of the relief 
of Rochelle." 2 

It was not a very useful letter to address to a commander 

whose chief difficulty was that he could not persuade three 

quarters of his force to go into action. Its effect was never to 

n be tried. The Rochellese had discovered for them- 

UCt. 18. 

Surrenderor selves the futility of Charles's efforts to save them. 
.ocheiie. Q n Q cto b er x g t j.j e capitulation was signed which put 
an end to their long and heroic resistance. 

Externally Rochelle was treated like a conquered city. The 
massive walls which had bid defiance to so many armies were 
Treatment of destroyed. The privileges of the town were can- 
the city. celled, and the King's officers governed the Protestant 
municipal republic as they governed Paris or Rouen. Riche- 
lieu had, however, set his heart on showing to the world an 
example of toleration, and his influence with Louis was great 
enough to enable him to have his way. He, at least, was no 
dreamer, and he knew that if France was to be strong against 
her enemies without, she must be at peace at home. Those 
who expected that the victory of a Cardinal would be the signal 
for outrages upon the Huguenots found that they were much 
mistaken. Wherever the French Protestants had enjoyed liberty 
Of worship before, they were to enjoy it still Protestant -md 
Catholic would be equally welcome to aid their common country 
with their services ; but there was to be no more political inde- 
pendence, no more defiance of the sovereign who represented, 
in the eyes of all, the unity of France. 

The fall of Rochelle was a bitter draught for Charles. Whilst 
he had grown weaker, Louis, who had rejected his mediation and 

1 i.e. the refugees from Rocbellc. 

1 The King to Lindsey, Oct. 14, S. P. Dom. xviii. 66. 


frustrated his efforts, was growing stronger. Nor was Charles's 
Charles's military and naval failure the measure of his dis- 
faiiure. aster. The French king's declaration of tolerance 
"was an announcement to the world that the war which Charles 
and Buckingham had persistently waged had been a blunder 
from the beginning. All for which Charles could reasonably 
ask was now given to the Huguenots without his intervention. 
There need have been no forced loan, no arbitrary imprison- 
ments, no expedition to Rhe", no attempt to goad unwilling 
mariners to break through the guarded barrier at Rochelle. 
Charles's fancy that Richelieu was a mere emissary of the 
Roman See, was shown beyond question to have been an entire 
delusion. He had proved himself as incompetent to recognise 
the conditions under which war ought to be waged as Buck- 
ingham had proved himself incompetent to carry it to a satis- 
factory conclusion. 

Yet even the news of the fall of Rochelle did not at once 
convince Charles that it was necessary to come to terms with 
France. He took it ill that Richelieu did not im- 


Effect of the mediately despatch messengers to England to sue for 
"fpture of 6 peace, 1 and began to cast about for other means than 
Rochelle. F rencn a id by which to recover the Palatinate. In 
Buckingham's lifetime Endymion Porter had been sent to Ma- 
drid, and Carlisle, after passing through Brussels and Lorraine, 
had arrived at Turin, to knit together, if possible, a general league 
of the enemies of France. Ever since the failure of the French 
alliance, which he had negotiated in 1624, Carlisle had thrown 
himself warmly into opposition to Richelieu, by whose arts, as 
he held, the honest intentions of the English Government had 
been thwarted. There was, indeed, much to complain of on 
both sides. If Charles had broken his word in the matter of the 
marriage treaty, Louis had broken his word in the matter of 
Mansfeld's expedition ; and whilst the expulsion of the Queen V 
attendants and the renewed persecution of the English Catholics, 
were bitterly remembered at the Louvre, the utter failure cf 

1 Contarini to Zorzi. Nov. ; Contarini to the Doge, *^ ", Ven. 
Transcrifts, R. O. 


the first military expedition of the war was by no means for- 
gotten at Whitehall. Carlisle now urged the con- 
He suggests . _, 

a Spanish tmuance of the war with France. " If the present 
Government of France," he wrote, "were such as 
good and honest patriots do wish and desire, many questions 
would fall to the ground." The King of France, however, he 
continued, had neither the power nor the will to recover the 
Palatinate, and he certainly designed the ruin of Protestantism 
in his own country. If Charles listened to the overtures of 
Spain, without accepting them too impatiently, he might have 
full satisfaction in all that he desired. Charles caught at the 
suggestion. He hoped that no one would suspect him of ' so 
great a villainy ' as a peace with France which failed to secure 
terms for the Huguenots. He at once invited the Savoyard 
diplomatist, the Abbot of Scaglia, to England, to act as an 
intermediate agent between Spain and himself, and he assured 
the Duke of Rohan that he would continue to support him in 
spite of ' the late mis-accident of Rochelle.' l 

It was the fundamental weakness of Charles's foreign policy 
that he had no moral sympathy with any single party on the 
Continent The States which he courted were nothing more 
in his eyes than instruments which might help him to gain his 
own objects. If one King would not help him, another might. 
He forgot that it was unlikely that anyone would care to help 
him at all, unless he had something to offer in return. 

In the meanwhile, Weston's influence was daily growing. 

He effected a complete reconciliation between the King and 

Arundel. That stately nobleman once more took his 

Arundei in place at the Council board, ready when the moment 

the Council. i / /- TT 

came to give his vote in favour of peace. He was 
Coittngton a soon joined there by Cottington, a man of the world 
Councillor. w jthout enthusiasm, believing that the Roman Catho- 
lic belief was the safest to die in, and that Weston's policy ran 
less risk than any other in the immediate present Weston was 

1 Carlisle and Wake to Conway, Nov. I ; Conway to Carlisle and 
Wake, N6v. 23 ; The King to Carlisle, Nov. 24, S. P. Savoy. Conway 
to Rohan, Nov. 23, S. P. France. 


thankful for his support, and marked him out for the Chancel- 
lorship of the Exchequer as soon as a vacancy could be made. 

Weston's voice was always raised in favour of economy. 
With as great persistency as he had shown in opposing the 
Weston's erection of a monument to Buckingham, he now 
economy. opposed every enterprise which was likely to require 
fresh warlike expenditure. Rosencrantz was urgent that some 
He holds of the ships and troops returning from Rochelle 
inurflre'nce m ight be sent to the King of Denmark's assistance, 
in Germany. Weston hastened to pay off the landsmen, and gave 
an unfavourable answer about the ships. 1 

When news arrived that Krempe had surrendered to the 
Imperialists, Charles resolved to send no present aid to Den- 
mark, and Morgan was ordered to keep quiet at 
Gluckstadt till the winter was over. Yet though 
Charles allowed himself to be persuaded into inaction for the 
present, he could not be induced to forego the luxury of pro 
mising large aid in the future. His ambassador, Anstruther, 
was directed to inform the King of Denmark that though the 
aid which he sorely needed was postponed, it was not refused. 
Parliament would, doubtless, grant the necessary supplies, and 
help would be sent in the spring. Morgan's regiment should be 
reinforced, and a fleet of forty ships should be despatched to 
the Elbe. 2 

In the course of December a nomination was made which 
showed that Charles did not place himself unreservedly in 
Weston's hands. Conway was old and sickly, and 
Dorchester was removed from the Secretaryship to the less 
secretary, troublesome office of President of the Council, 
which the still older Marlborough was induced to vacate. He 
was succeeded by Dorchester, a warm advocate of the French 
alliance. It was not long before Dorchester had the satisfac- 
tion of seeing the difficulties in the way of peace with France 

1 Council Register. Oct. 26, Nov. 12. Contarini to the Doge. ct '- -' 

' Nor. 3, 

2~*. Ven. Transcripts, R, O. 

1 Coke to Morgan, Nov. 24 ; Anstruther to Conway, Dec. 29. An- 
swer cf the Commissioners, Jan., 5. P. Denmark, 


gradually removed ; and in January a treaty sent over by 
l6ag> Richelieu was, with the exception of one not very 
January, important particular, agreed to by the English 
Council. 1 

Almost at the same time Carlisle and Porter returned from 
their respective missions. The most dazzling offers were 
dangled before Charles's eyes as the price of an 
Cariisteand alliance with Spain. With the help of Olivares, 
Frederick and Elizabeth would soon be reinstalled 
at Heidelberg, whilst Denmark and the Dutch Republic should 
be relieved from the attack of the Catholic Powers. Already 
the two great rivals, Richelieu and Olivares, were measuring 
one another's strength with hostile glances, and were anxious 
to secure the neutrality, if not the alliance, of England in the 
inevitable conflict. 

A negotiation almost completed and publicly avowed for 
a treaty with France, which might possibly lead to an alliance 
Progress of against Spain and the Emperor an inchoate and 
the negotia- un avowed negotiation for a treaty with Spain, which 

tion with J 

France. might possibly lead to an alliance against Fra nee and 
a promise to send active aid to Denmark in its war against the 
Emperor ; such were the bewildering results of three months of 

Charles's diplomacy since he had lost Buckingham's 
Charles's assistance. What likelihood was there that he would 
diplomacy. succeec j m making his policy intelligible to the House 
of Commons, or that he would gain the support of the nation 
for his plans ? 

As far as it is possible to gauge the feeling of the nation, it 
may be asserted that, though any favour shown to Spain would 
Feeling of ^ e unpopular, there was no longer that burning zeal 
the nation. f OT war w hid} had animated the political classes 
when the news of the loss of the Palatinate first reached 

England. Not only had the thoughts of the nation 
weakness of been diverted to domestic affairs, but Spain herself 

was far less formidable in 1629 than she had been in 
1621. The reduction of Breda in 1625 had been followed by a 

1 Contarini to the Doge, D . ec 3 , Tan. -. Ven. Transcripts, R. 0. 
Jan. 9 J 20 


long period of quiescence, during which the Spanish generals 
had not even attempted to push home the advantage which 
they had gained. In Germany, though Spanish troops con- 
tinued to occupy Frankenthal and the Western Palatinate, 
they stood aloof from all active participation in the war, and 
left Tilly and Wallenstein to stamp out, if they could, the 
last embers of resistance on the coasts of the Baltic Nor, if 
Spain failed to make any show of strength in Germany or the 
Netherlands, was she able to explain her inertness by any 
increased activity in opposing England. Even at the height of 
Buckingham's mismanagement, when Cecil returned discom- 
fited from Cadi/,, when Buckingham brought back the beaten 
remnants of his army from Rochelle, she had not ventured 
on a single aggressive movement. Now at last it was seen 
that she could no longer hold her own. In the summer of 
1628, the stadtholder, Frederick Henry, for the first time, 
quitting the defensive tactics which necessity had for so many 
i6ag years imposed on the guardians of the Dutch Re- 
Thefaiiof public, had attacked and taken Grol under the 

eyes of Spinola. Before the year was out, still more 
glorious tidings were wafted across the Atlantic. The prize 
which Drake and Raleigh had failed to secure, and for which 
Cecil had waited in vain, had been secured by the skill and 

courage of a Dutch mariner. Peter Hein had cap- 
ture"ofthe tured the Plate fleet, and the treasure which had 

been destined for the payment of Spanish soldiers 
was on its way to support the arms of the Republic in a more, 
daring campaign than any Dutchman had ventured to con- 
template since the day when Ostend had surrendered to the 
skill and resources of Spinola. 

It had thus become plain in England that the danger of the 
erection of a universal monarchy having its seat at Madrid had 
1629. passed away. Nor were the imaginations of English- 
pi n thy S wfth m " men much moved by the risk of the establishment 
Protestant" ^ a stron g military and Catholic empire having its 
limited. seat at Vienna. No doubt there was sympathy with 
the German Protestants, and much angry talk about the devas- 
tations of Wallenstein and Tilly. But, after all, the coast of the 


Baltic was far away, and the fall of Krempe did not touch 
Englishmen as the fall of Ostend had touched them in earlier 
days. It did not bring home to them any sense of immediate 
danger to themselves, nor were the conquerors men of that race 
whose very existence had been a standing menace to England 
ever since the early days of Elizabeth's reign. Tilly's veterans 
were not the military representatives of the troops who had 
contended with Sidney under the walls of Zutphen, or had 
waited on the Flemish sandhills under Parma till the Armada 
should appear to convey them to the invasion of the island 

Above all, neither the King of Spain nor the Emperor 

threatened now to undermine the institutions of England by 

secret sap. There was no longer any fear of the 

I he fear of r J 

Spanish in- arrival of an Infanta to be the bride of a King of 
aTh^me" England ; and it is difficult to say how much of the 
warlike ardour of 1621 was to be attributed rather to 
the fear of the intrigues of Spain in the English Court, than 
to the fear of its warlike predominance in Germany and the 
Netherlands. 1 hose who in 1621 were eager to avert a domestic 
danger by engaging in a foreign war, were ready in 1628 to 
allow the Continental nations to shift for themselves. 

Whatever might be the ultimate result of Charles's diplo- 
macy, there could be no doubt that the period of history which 
End of the began with the meeting of the Parliament of 1624 

war period. wag a j. an en( J The war f ever had di e( J down Upon 

its embers. A few months might pass before peace would be 
actually signed with France and Spain, but sooner or later 
l>eace was inevitable. Charles had no longer the means of 
carrying on war. Would he be able to lead the nation in time 
of peace ? The man was dead who had concentrated upon 
his own person the general hatred, and it might seem as if 
Charles would start fairly upon a new course. Such an expec- 
tation, if it really existed, was founded on a delusion. In all 
the mischief of the past years Charles had had his share, and 
the qualities which had combined with Buckingham's presump- 
tion to bring about the ruin, were not likely to assist him when 
he undertook to calm the excitement and discontent of an 


alienated people. James had been regarded with disfavour 
because, with all his knowledge and shrewdness, he had no 
resolute energy to give effect to his determinations. Charles 
had forfeited his popularity because he refused to look facts in 
the face, or to acknowledge that opinions other than his own 
had either a right to exist or strength to compel their recog- 
nition. When the war was at an end questions about internal 
government and legislation, questions especially about Church 
doctrine and discipline, would be certain to come into the fore 
ground ; and there was unfortunately no chance that the man 
who had dealt so unwisely with foreign opposition to the wishes 
which he had conceived, would deal more wisely with the op- 
position of his own subjects to the principles which he believed 
to be true. The years of unwise negotiation in James's reign 
led up to the war and desolation which followed. The years 
of unwise war in the reign of Charles were leading up to divi- 
sions and distractions at home, to civil strife, and to the de- 
thronement and execution of the sovereign who had already 
given such striking proofs of his incapacity to understand the 
feelings of those whom he was appointed to govern. 




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